Sergey Sirotkin labelled Friday practice for Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix, his home race, as “productive,” but admitted that the Williams Martini Racing team needs to find extra performance ahead of qualifying.
Sirotkin, the only full-time Russian driver on the 2018 grid, languished near the bottom of the time sheets in both ninety-minute practice sessions at the Sochi Autodrom, finishing eighteenth and twentieth fastest, respectively.
Despite being on average three seconds slower across the two sessions that pace-setters Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, respectively, Sirotkin feels that the team had a good day in collecting data by the Black Sea.
“We got lots of productive mileage today which is important,” he explained. “But performance-wise there’s still a few things to squeeze and maximise for tomorrow.
“There were some areas we found to be better than we first thought, so I think we look ok. There are a few more things to be optimised for tomorrow, and you also don’t know what the weather’s going to do.”
In his rookie season, Sirotkin has struggled to make much of an impact with an uncompetitive Williams car, and scored his first point in Italy, after Romain Grosjean was disqualified.
He will become the second Russian, after Danill Kvyat, to race at the Sochi circut, which was built around the park that hosted events in both the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
“I’m enjoying my grand prix, it’s been very busy but at the same time I’ve got so much support. I didn’t expect so much,” said Sirotkin.
“It’s been difficult and busy to handle so many activities but I’ve got to use this positive energy from the fans and put it into performance on the track.”