Sirotkin ‘could feel the impact’ of recent Renault Upgrades in Red Bull Ring Practice Outing

by Paul Hensby

Sergey Sirotkin was pleased that his third free practice outing with the Renault Sport Formula 1 Team was more productive than his first two, with the Russian finishing seventeenth fastest at the Red Bull Ring on Friday morning.

Both of Sirotkin’s previous outings at the Sochi Autodrom and Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya ended prematurely with mechanical issues, but he replaced Nico Hülkenberg for free practice one and completed twenty-seven laps.

Since last sitting in the car, Sirotkin feels that Renault have made good progress as it develops the RS17, and he cannot wait for his next opportunity to test with the team.

“It felt nice to have a clear session this morning and get some good laps in with the R.S.17,” admitted Sirotkin. “Having not driven the car in the last few weeks, I could feel the impact of the development as the car has definitely improved from before, so it is nice to see that the team is moving in the right direction.

“We worked through a decent programme and I can’t wait for my next FP1 opportunity.”

Sirotkin was not the only reserve driver to take to the track on Friday, with the Sahara Force India F1 Team giving Alfonso Celis Jr a first free practice session of the season, when he replaced his fellow Mexican Sergio Perez.

Celis finished eighteenth fastest but completed only fifteen laps as an electrical problem meant he was forced to stay in the pits while it was fixed, with the repairs also affected Perez’s running later in the day.

“It was a shame to have the electrical problem with the car because it really limited what we could achieve – just 15 laps, mainly of aero work,” said Celis.

“The issue ended the session early and we didn’t get to start the performance work. It’s a track that I love so I’m disappointed we couldn’t do more laps.”

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