Lance Stroll has "cracked" Formula 1 now after his difficult start to the season, according to Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe.
The Canadian failed to score in the first six races of the season, but after taking ninth place in his home grand prix, Stroll has now registered three points finishes – including third in the Azerbaijan GP.
“There were some very difficult periods, but actually I feel he’s cracked it now and we can only really get better from here,” Lowe told Motorsport.com.
“Now it is the confidence of the podium [finish], even when he is having a really bad day you have something to lean on and go ‘you know, I did that on that day and I can do it again’.
“He is racing really well. He shows great maturity on race day, that was no more clear than in the race in Baku. He kept his head, stayed clear of trouble while still maintaining good pace.
“That sort of maturity normally takes some years to become apparent, so I think he’s showing great promise in that respect.”
Lowe believes that if Stroll maintains his current rate of improvement, he will emerge as a formidable grand prix driver.
“It is just incremental [learning] in the car over the next one to two years,” said Lowe. “If he keeps up that rate, he will be showing himself to be a very strong competitor.”
Stroll hails Lowe influence
Stroll has paid tribute to the positive influence Lowe has been on his progress and how that has helped him to progress along the learning curve.
“Paddy and I get along very well, I have a lot of time for him, he’s a great person to have in the team, he’s a great leader” said Stroll. “He’s a realistic guy, and I really respect that.
“You can’t put your expectations through the roof. If you surprise yourself, great, but if you don’t then just work from there – any other mindset would be wrong.
“If you expect to come in and blow everyone away at 18 years old, that’s a bit ambitious.
“The realistic mindset, being in the process, taking it weekend by weekend, concentrating on one thing at a time, that’s the best way to compete.
“If you let emotions into it and start getting ahead of yourself, it normally goes downhill from there.”