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Grosjean doubts Button will struggle on F1 return in Monaco

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Romain Grosjean doubts Jenson Button will have any trouble getting to back up to speed upon his Formula 1 return in Monaco next weekend with McLaren.

Button decided to stop racing full-time in F1 at the end of last year, but was drafted in by McLaren to replace Fernando Alonso in Monaco while the Spaniard takes part in the Indianapolis 500.

Button opted against testing the 2017-spec McLaren-Honda MCL32 in Bahrain last month, meaning his first taste of the car will come during first practice on Thursday in Monaco.

Given the significant changes between the F1 cars in 2016 and 2017, Button may face a steep learning curve, but Grosjean doubts the 2009 world champion will have too many issues getting up to speed.

“First thing he has to do is get used to the width of the car, especially in Monaco,” Grosjean said.

“Jenson is a great champion. He’s been world champion and he knows what he’s doing. He’s going to be on it pretty quickly.

“If we can take advantage of the fact that he’s not got much experience in the car at the beginning, we’ll use that for our own performance, but I’m sure he’s going to be good straight away.”

Speaking about Alonso’s decision to skip Monaco for the ‘500, Grosjean said: ““t’s pretty amazing and he’s doing well in the testing. It’s a really good race.

“It’s a nice one, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to watch. I’ll have a look at the highlights.”

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.