Williams Formula 1 driver Lance Stroll believes Lewis Hamilton's ability to handle pressure is what helped him beat Sebastian Vettel in the 2017 Drivers' Championship title.

The 2017 campaign was the first time in four years that a Mercedes driver was seriously challenged for the title by a driver from another team as the title battle went into the latter part of the campaign.

Since 2014, the drivers' title was contested between the two Mercedes drivers, with Ferrari and Red Bull playing the support cast. But the Italian team made giant strides in 2017 and built a car worthy of a title challenge.

Vettel led the championship going into the summer break, but Hamilton quickly took over at the front following the break with five wins in seven races. During the same period the Ferrari driver struggled with mechanical issues and a driver-error crash at the Singapore Grand Prix, which saw the Briton wrap up the title with two races to spare at the Mexico Grand Prix.

Stroll believes the four-time world champions' ability to consistently score points, even when his car was not at its best, aided him in his title battle with Vettel. The German, meanwhile, struggled in the latter part of the season when Mercedes stepped up their game and consistently outperformed Ferrari.

"You saw in the title race last year how well Lewis handles pressure, (Sebastian) Vettel folded, but Lewis was able to handle that expectation," Stroll said, as quoted by the Express.

"His car wasn't always easy to drive. Mercedes struggled at a few races. But he still managed to get the most out of it and score points when he had to. He was consistent throughout the whole year. He really was on it, he was determined to score points every weekend.

"Hats off to him, he completely deserves the success he has had. He is extremely talented and I hope I can have half the success he's had in my career," the Williams driver added.

Stroll, meanwhile, is hoping to have a better 2018 campaign following a mixed rookie season in 2017. He finished 12<sup>th in the overall standings which included a podium finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

The Canadian will be the senior driver in the team during the upcoming campaign after Williams replaced veteran Felipe Massa with Russian Sergey Sirotkin. Stroll is hoping the added experience from last season will help him push on and have a better season in 2018.

"It was important I spent the off-season reflecting," he added. "I now feel a completely different driver to the one I was a year ago. I've got a lot improving to do. Qualifying in particular, I need to do better there. But I'm confident I will. I've got a big year ahead.

"Over the course of the year I've changed dramatically as a driver, I've learned a tremendous amount. I'm going to come back for the new season and be much stronger, both mentally and physically."

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton beat Vettel to the 2017 Drivers' Championship title Getty