Jacques Villeneuve calls Lance Stroll one of the worst F1 rookies ever
'The results speak for themselves,' says former world F1 champion
Formula One champion Jacques Villeneuve didn't mince words when critiquing the rookie season of fellow Canadian Lance Stroll.
"The results speak for themselves," Villeneuve told autoweek.com. "It is one of the worst rookie performances in the history of Formula 1."
Villeneuve, who won the F1 driver's title in 1997, was speaking to Stroll's struggles in his debut season. The 18-year-old from Montreal failed to collect a point in his first six races before finishing ninth at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal over the weekend to register his first two points of the season.
Many critics also point to the stark lap time differences between Stroll and teammate Felipe Massa, who both drive for Williams, as a key indicator of Stroll's inability to race amongst the best.
However, Stroll was defiant upon hearing Villeneuve's criticism.
"I don't care what people think," he said. "I'm happy for me and the team. The rest is noise. People who do not like me will always find excuses."
In Montreal, Stroll managed a top-10 finish despite finishing 17th in qualifying.
"I always had confidence," Stroll said to Le Journal after the Montreal Grand Prix. "I also know there will be nothing easy about the next races. There's a lot of room for improvement and we're working hard for more good results."
Prior to the beginning of the season, it was Villeneuve who actually defended Stroll, saying that the rookie deserved a spot on the grid.
"All you can do is look at the results, and the results speak for themselves," said Villeneuve. "That's what I was told by the family at the beginning of the season, that the results would talk. And that's what we have. We haven't seen progress so far. From the first race to now, it's been similar.
"We've seen so many drivers who are amazing until they're 16 or 17, and that's it. They don't go anywhere. The next step just doesn't happen. Some drivers just keep getting better, but you can't know that in advance. It's always risky to put someone super young, because you just don't know how good they can be."
With files from the Canadian Press