Rookie Sergey Sirotkin is just days away from his Formula 1 baptism of fire, the Williams driver following in the footsteps of his trail-blazing countrymen Vitaly Petrov and Daniil Kvyat.
Sirotkin’s road to F1 has been well chronicled, the 22-year-old impressing the Grove-based outfit in a post-season test at the end of 2017 in which he edged out Robert Kubica, the man many believed would be lining up alongside Lance Stroll next weekend.
The Russian has a steep learning curve in front of him however, but the challenge will be dealt with as it unfolds.
“It’s the Australian Grand Prix – it’s my first race in Formula One, my first race with Williams, and my first race in Australia,” enthuses Sirotkin.
“It’s very exciting and I’m really looking forward to getting there, to start work and to get closer to the lights going out.”
Kubica presence not adding pressure to Sirotkin’s race seat
Regardless of Sirotkin’s game plan for Melbourne, which will likely focus on finishing his first race, the Williams apprentice sees an interesting experience ahead.
“Looking back at my career, I have always been a racing guy and I’ve always liked the competition, pushing the limits of myself as well as the limits of others,” he says.
“To win in this environment is the biggest dream you can imagine, so I’m really looking forward to this challenge, to put more pressure on myself and to deliver. It’s going to be interesting!”
Williams partner and technical director Paddy Lowe has seen it all before in his decades of F1, but the inclusion of a new driver in the team’s line-up always offers an intriguing prospect.
“The first race is always very special,” say Lowe
“Importantly, there is always a state of tension around where everyone will end up pace-wise with the first qualifying session being the most interesting hour of the F1 season, where we get the first exam results following our year-long build up to put together the FW41.
“We are excited to see Lance and Sergey in their first race as teammates, and it looks like there will be some close competition as all the teams appear to have done a fantastic job over the winter.
“And whilst that might make things difficult for the teams, it is great for the fans, so above all else, we hope to put on a great show for everyone in Australia.”
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