Lance Stroll: Results prove I'm not just about father's money

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Lance Stroll believes the results from the first half of his rookie season proves his family has not simply paid for a spot on the Formula One grid.

Eighteen-year-old Stroll joined Williams this year after completing private tests for the team in old cars in 2016. The Canadian has had a mixed start to his career, with a tough early spell of races followed by a brilliant drive to third in Azerbaijan, falling just shy of Max Verstappen's record as the youngest to make the podium in F1 history.

Billionaire Lawrence Stroll, listed #782 in Forbes' rich list, has been a major backer of his son's career, leading to some labelling his son with the negative 'pay driver' label. The younger Stroll, who was a Ferrari academy driver before becoming Williams test driver in 2015, says those critics should look at his results so far.

Asked how he deals with the money question, Stroll told ESPN: "You just turn it off, but at the same time you have to look at the facts. I'm not here to prove anyone wrong, I'm here to do it for myself and my team. I'm not here to 'show the critics', or whatever it is, I know why I'm here and that I deserve to be here. I won Formula 3 championship and was the youngest ever to win it, and by a massive margin, and a lot of work went into it.

"And now, youngest rookie to ever be on the podium, that's an accomplishment and I think for people to take that away from me and say 'it's just money', it's not true. Showing those results, looking at the points, I'm still in the [midfield] mix. There will still be hard weekends, good weekends, that's how it works, but I've proven I belong to be here in F1. The results speak for themselves."

The Canadian made the trip across the Atlantic to Europe at a young age in a bid to crack F1 and quickly rose through the junior categories. Stroll refuses to downplay the importance of his wealthy background but says securing a place in F1 ultimately came down to his ability to deliver results.

"I know why I'm here. I can't deny the reality, the reality is I had a great opportunity growing up as a kid that not a lot of people have. I was very fortunate to come from where I come from and be able to make that move from Canada to Europe to pursue my dreams. But I grabbed it with both hands and I won my championships to get here, I won my Formula 4 championship, I won my Formula 3 championship, I did all that and I got my superlicence points which not everyone can get. You have to go out and deliver the results to get that and get into Formula One.

"So that's where my focus is at, I'm very thankful for the opportunity I've been given growing up as a kid, but at the same time I worked really hard to get here. I could easily be running around in last place with all the money in the world. But that's not how I did it, and that's what matters to me.

"Also in Formula One you need, other than if you're in the top three teams, you need some backing to help you, even in the lower ranks, motorsport is incredibly expensive. I have sponsors as well who have backed me other than my father, so there's more to the story than just my father's money."