Stroll happy to bide his time before stepping up to F1

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Williams test driver Lance Stroll is happy to bide his time before making a step up to Formula 1 in the future despite Max Verstappen’s rapid ascension in recent years.

Stroll, 17, balances his commitments with Williams with a drive in the FIA European Formula 3 Championship, where he enjoys a sizeable championship lead.

Verstappen spent his first full season in single-seaters in FIA F3 back in 2014, finishing third in the championship before joining Toro Rosso in F1.

Despite following in the footsteps of Verstappen, Stroll is happy to spend more time in junior championships before making the step up to F1 in the future.

“We saw that Verstappen did it at a very young age,” Stroll told Canadian newspaper The Star.

“It shows that young drivers are capable. I don’t want to use him as an example. He could be an exception.

“He’s obviously very good. But when the time is right, when I’m ready, when we complete all the steps, then we’ll make a decision.

“For now, I’m in F3 and that’s what I’m focused on. I think Williams wants me to concentrate 100 per cent on F3. F1 will come when it’s the right time.

“I need to take each step as it comes. Maybe next year, when I’m old enough, I can do a practice [session].”

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff was full of praise for Stroll, and believes he will be the next Canadian to race in F1.

“He has won two European Formula 3 races this season in an extremely dominant way,” Wolff said.

“When you speak to the boy, 17 years old, you think you have a 35-year-old in front of you.

“The downside is that people don’t know how good he really is.

“I think for sure this is the next Canadian kid in Formula One and it has nothing to do with his father’s wealth. It is because the boy can drive.”