Formula 1’s newest teenage rookie Lance Stroll is relishing the opportunity of learning from his veteran teammate Felipe Massa at Williams this season.
An experienced teammate was a condition that came with Stroll joining the team, thus when Valtteri Bottas departed for Mercedes, Massa was the logical choice to mentor the 18 year old in his rookie season.
Stroll said in a Twitter video, “I am really looking forward to Felipe being a mentor for me. Of course we are competitors, and we want to beat each other, but at the same time I think he has a lot of respect as a driver and we all know that he’s very well respected throughout the paddock. He’s a really nice guy and he’s a team player.”
“That’s really all you ask for being in a team. You want someone who is a team player and someone who’ll help the team go forward and not create a problem on both sides of the garage.”
“I think it’s really important to have two drivers that want to push the team in the right direction rather than fighting against the other. It’s obviously good to have that competitiveness in the team and an urge to beat the driver next to you.”
“At the same time I think we are going to respect each other, we are going to want the best for the team and we are going to help the team in the best way possible,” added Stroll who will make his Formula 1 debut at the season opening Australian Grand Prix on March 26.
For Massa the race in Melbourne will be his 251st Grand Prix, and he will be excused a case of deja vu as he himself made his F1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix, albeit in 2002 for Sauber.
At the time he was being groomed by Ferrari and had his race seat paid by the Maranello outfit at the time. His mentor then was none other than Michael Schumacher.