Lance Stroll believes that his more recent performances in Formula 1 prove that he is not in the sport simply because of his father's money. In 2016, Stroll's billionaire father, Lawrence, paid Williams a hefty sum of money to give his son a drive for the 2017 season.
Stroll's debut season started off roughly, as he failed to match the pace of veteran teammate Felipe Massa. At the Canadian Grand Prix, the 18-year-old secured his first points finish before going on to claim third place and his maiden podium one race later in Azerbaijan.
Stroll has had to face tough accusations regarding his father's money but says that he needs to cast them aside and focus on the job: "You just turn it off, but at the same time you have to look at the facts," he said to ESPN. "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."
Stroll recognises that he is very fortunate to have come from a wealthy background and understands that his father's money was a key factor in securing a seat for this season. However, he preaches that he has worked hard for where he has got to.
"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 super licence points which not everyone can get. You have to go out and deliver the results to get that and get into Formula 1.
"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."