It takes a lot to win in Formula 1. After all, it is the pinnacle of motorsport, so it's no surprise that it takes more than a good driver to win consistently. Comparing drivers from team to team can be messy considering just how much has to be right with a car in order for it to be good enough to get a win. This is exactly why it is often said that your teammate is your worst enemy.
Sergio Perez has been hanging around the paddock for a while now, and as a result, he has gone through many teammates. Perhaps most notably Estaban Ocon, and the 'best driver to never get a podium', Nico Hulkenberg. But, rather shockingly, the Mexican driver believes that Stroll is faster than the both of them. In fact, Checo ranks the young Canadian as the best driver he has ever had as his teammate in terms of race pace.
At first glance, this probably looks like a case of Perez protecting his reputation, or maybe Checo wants to befriend the new boy because his dad is the boss, but if you look back to Lance's debut season in 2017, he was only 3 points behind his experienced and well-respected teammate, Felipe Massa. More than that though, in that very same season, Lance scored a front row start in a wet qualifier at Monza, and a podium in Baku - albeit, luck had its hand in that one. Plus, nobody can deny his incredible off-the-line skills.
The counterpoint to this is that Stroll payed his way in, and any driver has luck here and there, but, quite frankly, that doesn't hold up. Any diehard F1 fan knows that talent is shown best in the rain, particularly in qualifying, where luck has the least say in the result, so that stellar Monza Quali is most likely down to pure mettle. Add that Lance has won a Formula 2 title, and you have a lot of evidence pointing to the fact that Stroll is highly underrated.
But why did his talent go unnoticed? There are a couple of reasons. Most notable is that Lawrence Stroll payed so that Lance could have a seat, but let's not forget that Fernando Alonso - the legend himself - had significant backing from Santander to get him behind the wheel of an F1 car. Niki Lauda also payed Ferrari partially for his seat.
That is not to say that I am a fan of drivers paying in; I personally think that it makes it too hard for young, raw talent to enter the sport. What I am saying is that it gives a driver an advantage in getting a chance at the pinnacle of motorsport, which may be unfair, but I think Lance would have ended up in F1 just the same. Without cash.