Sergey Sirotkin had his first taste of a Formula 1 free practice session in front of his home fans at Sochi, as the Russian took control of the Sauber F1 Team car that Esteban Gutierrez will race this weekend.
The eighteen year old, a race winner in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series with Fortec Motorsports this season, was seventeenth fastest in the session, but felt there was more to come from him had he pushed to the limit.
“It was a positive session,” insisted Sirotkin. “I like the track, and it was nice driving the C33. I took it easy at the beginning in order to build up confidence, as I have not driven the car for about half a year, but today I was able to quickly get the feeling for it.
“During my last fast lap at the end of the session, I was a bit unlucky with the traffic, and the tyres did not have the optimal temperature. The conditions were not ideal, which cost me some time during my last fast lap.
“I see a lot of potential to improve, as I took it easy, and I was not pushing to the absolute limit. The track is quite nice, but also tricky. Turn 1 seems to be an easy corner, which can be taken flat out. However, I was a bit surprised on my first lap when I went through Turn 1, as it was quite bumpy in one place. Nevertheless, after a few laps you get used to the track’s characteristics.”
Sirotkin believes he is ready for Formula 1, and although nothing has been signed with the team, he hopes to be driving full time for the Sauber team in 2015. This was his second time in the car having ran a day in the post-Bahrain Grand Prix test in April.
“I felt it after Bahrain a little, but it wasn’t a proper run – here is a chance to compare and it was a surprise to me that it was a bit easier than I thought,” said Sirotkin. “I feel myself more than ready for this step; I just need the chance.
“Motorsport in Russia is progressing quite well. This weekend made a big step forward and it helps to attract the people and make them interested.
“We’re working to get the seat next year. There’s nothing I can say now officially, but we are working. As soon as we make any decision we can think about some extra testing options maybe to be ready earlier.”