Jackie Stewart: 'Don't assess Lance Stroll until 2018'

Sir Jackie Stewart walks in the paddock during previews to the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 17, 2015
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F1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart defends struggling rookie Lance Stroll.

Formula 1 legend Sir Jackie Stewart has defended struggling rookie Lance Stroll.

The 18-year-old, whose father and sponsor is the fashion mogul Lawrence Stroll, is under fire as he struggles with his first season in F1.

Amid suggestions that Stroll brings $50m (£38.7m) to the Grove team, his team boss, Claire Williams, is backing him.

"He is being treated unfairly and gratuitously," she is quoted as saying by the Journal de Montreal.

"Like any new driver, it takes time. And he's a very young driver who has a lot to learn.

"I think every young driver needs at least a year to familiarise themself with the car and the circuits."

Some might say that Williams would defend Stroll, but also backing the youngster is F1 legend and triple world champion Stewart.

"I think, like many others, we will have to wait at least a year before we assess him," the Scot said. "I have not been surprised by his difficulties, in fact.

"F1 is the pinnacle of motor racing and it takes time before you can compete against the best in the discipline. But he has proven he has the talent to succeed.

"He's in a good environment, a good team with Williams who have developed great drivers in the past."

Ahead of Stroll's first home grand prix in Montreal, Stewart also thinks the Canadian public needs to give the driver time as well.

"Canada wants another Villeneuve, but you were spoiled with Gilles, who in my opinion was the most reckless driver in the history of formula one, but also one of the most brilliant," he added.

"And his son Jacques was able to take over in a remarkable way."

Stroll's best finish so far has been 11th place in Russia.

Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP leads Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Ferrari and Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP into the first corner during the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya on May 10, 2015
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2Ferrari214
3Red Bull112
4Force India71
5Toro Rosso29
6Williams-Mercedes22
7Renault18
8Haas15
9Sauber4
10McLaren0
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1Sebastian VettelFerrari141
2Lewis HamiltonMercedes129
3Valtteri BottasMercedes93
4Kimi RaikkonenFerrari73
5Daniel RicciardoRed Bull67
6Max VerstappenRed Bull45
7Sergio PerezForce India44
8Esteban OconForce India27
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10Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes20
11Nico HulkenbergRenault18
12Romain GrosjeanHaas10
13Kevin MagnussenHaas5
14Pascal WehrleinSauber4
15Daniil KvyatToro Rosso4
16Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes2
17Fernando AlonsoMcLaren0
18Marcus EricssonSauber0
19Jolyon PalmerRenault0
20Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren0
21Antonio GiovinazziSauber0
22Jenson ButtonMcLaren0
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