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- Updated: November 15, 2017
The key to advancing Williams rookie Lance Stroll’s career in the sport is to find him a slower teammate, according to former world champion Jacques Villeneuve.
Stroll was in 14th position at the Brazilian Grand Prix but had to eventually settle for 16th spot after picking up a flat spot that caused his left-front tyre to delaminate and forced an extra pit-stop.
His teammate Felipe Massa, who recently announced his second retirement from the sport, finished sixth on home soil to move back ahead of Stroll and into 10th in the drivers’ championship with one race to go.
“It wasn’t impressive,” 1997 world champion Villeneuve told Motorsport.com. “He was about to get lapped by his teammate.
“Then he blew a tyre so at least he has an excuse. It’s not a weekend to remember.”
Stroll was distinctly under-performing at the beginning of the season and even failed to reach the chequered flag in the first there races, but scored his first points in Canada and a maiden podium at the following race in Baku.
Villeneuve said, “You can’t just look at the points, you have to look at the pace. We haven’t really seen an improvement.
“Something has to happen during the winter because he’s been better than that in the other categories.
“He needs to figure something out. Maybe a new teammate will be helpful.”
When asked what the best way forward for Stroll would be, Villeneuve said, “Have a slower teammate. He needs to find a way to go faster.”
Stroll looks all but set to continue his career with Williams, at least for the next two seasons, with the team yet to appoint his teammate for 2018.
Robert Kubica, whose F1 career was interrupted by life-threatening injuries from a rally crash in 2011, is the frontrunner to get the seat.
The 32-year-old Pole may well be granted a re-entry into the sport and featured in the post-Abu Dhabi Pirelli Formula 1 tyre test so the team can continue to evaluate the potential of his return.
The other options at their disposal include reserve driver Paul di Resta, former Toro Rosso driver Daniil Kvyat and Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein.