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Valtteri Bottas: No reason why Williams can’t win championships again

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Recently-appointed Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas sees no reason why former team Williams cannot become a championship-winning outfit again.

Bottas made his F1 debut with Williams in 2013 and spent four seasons with the British team before joining Mercedes earlier this month ahead of the 2017 campaign.

Bottas led Williams to third place in the constructors’ championship in 2014 and 2015, and spoke warmly of his time with team in a video on Twitter.

“I was with Williams in total seven years, four years as a race driver. Everything has gone quickly,” Bottas said.

“I’m one of the [drivers with the] most races done for Williams. It’s been an amazing, amazing learning curve for me and also for the team.

“Every year the team has gone more and more professional, developing, even though results sometimes don’t show it.

“Williams has won so many championships that there’s no reason why it couldn’t win again. For this team it is only a matter of time.

“It’s a shame we couldn’t get together out first win or the title but I wish all the best to Williams and lot of success. I hope you will get the championship rather sooner than later.

“I hope I’ve given a lot to Williams – at least I tried everything I could, always wanted to be a team player, the goal was always to bring maximum points to the team.”

Williams last won a world championship back in 1997 when Jacques Villeneuve won the drivers’ title, with the team also taking the constructors’ trophy.

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.