JULY 27, 2017
Only judge Stroll in 2018 says Prost
Quadruple world champion Alain Prost has defended F1's teen rookie Lance Stroll.
Canadian Stroll's debut for Williams this year has been the subject of controversy, as his career has been bankrolled by his billionaire father.
Not just that, although the 18-year-old broke through for his maiden podium in Baku, he notably struggled during the first half of the season.
But Prost thinks much of the criticism was unfair.
"He was being criticised even before he started," he told Le Journal de Montreal newspaper.
"I said before the season that it would be difficult for him to manage his age and his inexperience. It's true that he has tested in the 2014 car, but he has had so much to learn, especially this year with these faster cars.
"But when you know F1," Prost explained, "you know how difficult it is to get started. Look at Stoffel Vandoorne. He was considered one of the greatest hopefuls and he has had difficulties since the very beginning.
"But he's going to get better and better, and it's the same for Lance," Prost added.
Prost, also an advisor for Renault's F1 programme, thinks the biggest pressure on Stroll this year was the wealth of his father, billionaire fashion mogul Lawrence Stroll.
"It put extra pressure on him," Prost said. "And I think that's a pity, because without a minimum amount of talent, he would not be in F1.
"We have to give him time. Where we can judge is in his results by the end of the year and especially next year," he added. "His progress. Today, it is still too early."
But Prost, 62, said Stroll's podium performance in Baku was noteworthy.
"At the moment, he's not doing badly," said the famous Frenchman.
"Honestly, in Baku, I looked at his race and he was one of the only drivers not to make a mistake."