February 28, 2017 / 5:52 PM / 2 years ago

Motor racing: Williams wrap up early after Stroll takes a spin

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Lance Stroll’s official Formula One test debut with Williams lasted 12 laps on Tuesday before the Canadian rookie spun off and damaged the car, forcing Williams to shut up shop before lunchtime.

The newly announced Williams Martini Racing driver for the 2017 season Lance Stroll poses for photographers beside this years Formula 1 car at their base in Wantage, Britain November 3, 2016. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Brazilian veteran Felipe Massa had managed 103 laps on Monday’s opening day in the same car.

“It was the second run, just getting to grips with the car. Kind of no grip and I just lost the car,” Stroll, 18, told reporters.

“I went through the gravel with a little spin and drove back to the garage and apparently we broke a little winglet on the front wing and we only have one. So that’s a bit unfortunate and it ended our day.”

Head of performance engineering Rob Smedley explained that, while the accident was no big deal, some composite parts had to be sent back to the factory in England for fixing and they would have to wait until Wednesday to run again.

“We’re doing the utmost we can now to get back out on track at the earliest opportunity tomorrow. We will be able to recover the program in the coming days,” he said.

Stroll, who will be the youngest and least experienced driver on the Formula One starting grid when the season starts in Melbourne on March 26, said the mishap had not dented his confidence.

He appeared tense, however, with a large crowd of media surrounding him in the team hospitality area.

“It is what it is. It’s early days and things happen in testing like this,” said Stroll, whose billionaire father Lawrence is one of Canada’s richest men.

“Unexpected events always come up and you just have to deal with them. The car is very complex, there’s not a lot of room for error,” he added.

“I was actually really confident, really happy in the car on the few laps I did...there’s still plenty of running ahead,” said the youngster, who had tested privately last year using older cars.

Stroll has come into Formula One after winning the European Formula Three title last year with 14 race victories.

Editing by Ed Osmond

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