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Lance Stroll may have copped a lot of flak during his debut season in Formula One, but Williams chief technical officer Paddy Lowe believes that the rook has now “cracked” the sport.

Stroll failed to score in the first six races of the season, but after breaking his duck with ninth place in his home grand prix, Stroll has now registered three points finishes – including a podium finish in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in June.

“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 Autosport.

“Now it’s the confidence of the podium, 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.”

If Stroll can maintain his rate of development, Lowe feels that the Canadian can emerge as a formidable Grand Prix driver in the future.

“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 very strong and showing himself to be a very strong competitor.”

Stroll was all praise for his boss as well, citing his calming influence and realistic expectations as a major element in helping him through his maiden season.

“Paddy and I get along very well,” said Stroll.

“I have a lot of time for him, he’s a great person to have in the team, a great leader.

“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.”

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