Lance Stroll has hit back at critics suggesting his Formula 1 seat with Williams was gained due to family money instead of talent, saying that drivers cannot buy themselves a place on the grid.
Stroll, 18, stepped up to F1 at the start of 2017 following a victorious FIA Formula 3 title campaign last year, but is yet to score any points through his first six grands prix.
Aiding Stroll’s rapid rise into F1 was his father, Lawrence, a billionaire investor, which allowed the young Canadian to enjoy private testing program with a 2014-spec Williams F1 car that made him the best-prepared rookie since Lewis Hamilton in 2007.
Stroll was directly asked in Thursday’s FIA press conference how he handled the perception that he was on the grid based on family money rather than talent, to which he joked: “Never heard that question before!” before tackling it honestly ahead of his home race weekend in Montreal.
“You know, it’s always going to be said and asked, about where I come from and all that. But I focus on the positives,” Stroll said.
“I’ve won the championships to arrive here, Formula 4, Formula 3 European Championship, I got my 40 Superlicence points that the FIA has placed just for that reason. Drivers can’t just buy their way into Formula 1, you have to actually go out and get the results.
“There are always going to be haters, there is always going to jealousy, that’s just the nature of sports in general. When you win it’s expected and when you have hard times people put you down and that’s how it goes.
“But I don’t focus on that. I know who is important around me and those are the people I listen to. The rest of the noise you just have to block it out, it’s out of your control. You have to know who you need to trust around you and that’s all you can focus on and then it’s about going out on track.
“Sometimes there’s hard times, sometimes there’s good times but you just need to always go to the next weekend and be positive and try as hard as you can and that’s how I go about my business.”