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Grosjean: Haas F1 still ‘growing up’, proving doubters wrong

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Romain Grosjean is happy to see the Haas Formula 1 team proving its doubters wrong after matching its debut season points total in just nine races of its sophomore campaign.

NASCAR team co-owner Gene Haas took his F1 operation onto the grid in 2016, with Grosjean scoring all 29 of its points through its debut campaign.

Grosjean has been joined at the team by Kevin Magnussen for 2017, and the pair have already made progress by taking the same points total through the first nine races of the year.

For Grosjean, the advances made by the team for 2017 come largely down to experience as it matures, having only entered 30 races.

“We’re growing up. We’re definitely growing up and we’re learning a lot from the past races experiences,” Grosjean told NBCSN.

“There is a lot more that we need to learn in Formula 1, and it’s a very complex world. But I believe the team is doing very well for its second year.

“I’m hoping that we can get a bit more consistency and keeping top performance.”

Grosjean is pleased that Haas has been able to prove doubters wrong who predicted a second season slump, and even feels the American team could double its points total through the remainder of the year.

“A lot of people were thinking year two would be difficult for the team, but we’re actually much stronger in year two than in year one, and I’m very proud of that,” Grosjean said.

“I’m hoping that year three is going to be even stronger. There’s a lot more races to come. We’ve unlocked some potential in the car, we’ve had some bad luck, but we still have scored a lot of points.

“I think we can double up easily from last year.”

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.