Lance Stroll excited to learn from ‘team player’ Massa at Williams F1

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Formula 1 rookie Lance Stroll is excited about racing alongside Felipe Massa at Williams in 2017, believing that he can learn a lot from the Brazilian.

Stroll, 18, will make his F1 debut in Australia after winning the FIA European Formula 3 title in 2016, and was due to partner Valtteri Bottas at Williams through the upcoming season.

However, Bottas was subject to an approach from Mercedes after world champion Nico Rosberg confirmed his shock retirement in December, prompting Williams to turn to Massa, who had already announced his own decision to quit.

Massa was lured back to ensure that Williams has an experienced driver to lead its charge through 2017 and help nurture Stroll, who is confident of a good partnership with Massa.

“I am really am looking forward to Felipe to being a mentor to me,” Stroll said.

“Of course we’re competitors and we want to beat each other, but at the same time I think he has a lot of respect as a driver.

“We all know that he’s very well respected throughout the paddock and he’s a nice guy, and he’s a team player. That’s really all you ask for being in a team.

“You want someone who’s a team player that will help the team go forward and not kind of create a problem on both sides of the garage.”

F1 has been fraught with teammate rivalries over the years, with the ongoing tensions between Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes being the most notable in recent times.

Stroll is confident that both sides of the garage will remain happy at Williams in 2017, and that he and Massa can bring out the best in one another.

“I think it’s really important to have two drivers who want to push the team in the right direction rather than fighting,” Stroll said.

“It’s good to have that competitiveness in the team and that urge to want to beat the driver next to you, but at the same time I think we’re gonna respect each other.

“We’re gonna want the best for the team. We’re gonna help the team in the best way possible.”