Nineteen-year-old Sergey Sirotkin currently sits fifth in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series championship driving for Fortec Motorsports, and took his maiden series victory in race one in front of his home fans at the Moscow Raceway in June. However, the young Russian feels disappointed that the results, especially in the early races of the year, were not as positive as they should have been.
He started with a tenth place in the opening race at Monza, followed by a third place in race two, while at Motorland Aragon he started with an eighth place in race one. Unfortunately race two in Spain saw the first of four consecutive race retirements, with Sirotkin retiring in Monaco and in both races at Spa-Francorchamps.
“The first few races were very difficult and unlucky for us,” said Sirotkin to The Checkered Flag. “We were quick and ready to fight almost every time we are on the track, but crazy amount of bad luck made it difficult for the championship points.
“[We had] so much bad luck, which is not up to me or team. We all worked hard but some problems with electronics that continued for a few weekends were not under our control, so we could not do anything better than what we did.”
The race weekend in Russia in front of his home fans was the change of luck Sirotkin needed. He took pole position on Saturday morning, and then followed that up by dominating the race and taking his first series victory in the afternoon.
“After such a difficult time for us it was really the best way to recover,” insisted Sirotkin. “We worked so hard every day and it is just incredible to win the race after that. Big thanks to the whole team, which made a great job to recover!”
The final race weekend before the mid-season break was at the Nurburgring in Germany, and Sirotkin returned to the podium in race one with a third place finish, then followed that up with a fourth place on Sunday. He admitted he could have achieved better had his qualifying been better, but he was happy to take a good haul of points away from the German track.
“It was a good weekend for us, and we were quick every time we went out on the track,” said Sirotkin. “Maybe having a bit more luck in qualifying could help in races, but anyway we got a lot of points which is very important now.”
Looking ahead to the remaining races of the year, Sirotkin feels there is everything still to play for as he aims to improve on his fifth place in the championship. He sits seven points behind team-mate Oliver Rowland in fourth, and only fourteen points behind Arden Motorsport’s Pierre Gasly in third.
“We have everything to fight for every weekend, and I am really sure that after all of that bad luck we will prove our speed,” said Sirotkin. “It is always difficult to say [where we’ll end up in the championship], but at the moment I am concentrating on my job, on winning races and then we see what we can get from it.”
The teenager reveals he is enjoying his time at Fortec Motorsports, and insists he and team-mate Rowland are pushing each other hard, and from that the Russian believes he is learning more about himself as a racer.
“Everything is very well,” insisted Sirotkin. “Even after first half of the season when we were really struggling, we stayed all together and continued to work as one team! Oliver is very quick driver so we are always pushing each other and learning from that, which is very good as well.”
The Russian remains a part of the Sauber F1 Team’s test driver line-up, and Sirotkin will get his first outing in an official free practice session when Formula 1 arrives in his home country of Russia at the new Sochi circuit next month. He has secured a Superlicence through running in a 2009 Ferrari and a 2013 Sauber, and will become the second test driver to run in a free practice session for Sauber in 2014 after Giedo van der Garde.