Sergey Sirotkin admitted that it was difficult to accept not getting the call from the Renault Sport Formula One Team to join their race team in 2018 after two seasons as their development driver, although he praised the Enstone-based team for helping him make progress as a driver.
Renault brought in the Red Bull-backed Carlos Sainz Jr. alongside Nico Hülkenberg ahead of the 2017 United States Grand Prix and into 2018, leaving Sirotkin again on the sidelines, but the young Russian eventually did find his own way onto the grid when he joined Williams Martini Racing.
Williams will be Sirotkin’s third team in Formula 1 but the first he will race with, after initially being the test driver for the Sauber F1 Team in 2014 before his two years with Renault, but he admits working so hard for them in 2016 and 2017 and not finding himself in a position to step up into one of their race seats was a bitter pill to swallow.
“With Sauber it was not really a full focus on [an F1 seat], it came as quick as it disappeared to be honest,” Sirotkin said on Crash.net.
“I was still doing my career in World Series and GP2, and OK, it was a good opportunity, but at the end of the day it was not something I put all my life into. I was still racing and winning the racing and hitting my own targets and that’s what I was trying to continue to do.
“It was a bit more difficult with Renault last year, because it was the first season I didn’t race when I was fully dedicated to the team and I worked hard for them.
“Then at some points, when you realise it’s not going the way you expected it to be going, it’s definitely not the best feeling. I was still travelling, still doing a lot of work and then not so much time behind the wheel, so you don’t get as much satisfaction back.
“It’s not the easiest feeling and it’s a period that ended up being much more difficult than I imagined it to be. But I learned from it and I maximised it and I need to thank them as well for me making me the driver I am now and getting me where I am now.”