Sergey Sirotkin has enjoyed his first run-out on a grand prix weekend in front of his home crowd as Formula 1 held its first practice sessions in Russia on Friday.
Sirotkin, 19, joined Sauber as a reserve driver in 2013 with the view to a full-time seat this season. Although this did not materialize, he has remained on the team’s books ever since, and is in the running for a drive in 2015 after some good performances in Formula Renault 3.5 this year.
As part of his deal with the team, Sirotkin enjoyed a successful practice session in Sochi on Friday, finishing the session just four-tenths of a second shy of Adrian Sutil in the sister Sauber. In the final standings, the Russian driver was classified 17th.
Now, Sirotkin feels ready to make the step up to Formula 1, and is working on securing a full-time seat for 2015.
“I felt it after Bahrain as well, but that wasn’t really a proper run,” Sirotkin said, with reference to his test for Sauber back in April.
“Here is a much better chance to compare and I would say it was a bit of a surprise to me that it was easier and I was closer than I thought. I feel myself more than ready, I just need the chance.”
Sirotkin’s chances of claiming one of the two seats at Sauber have been aided by the problems with Simona de Silvestro’s contract, but he could not confirm whether the Swiss team was his only option.
“We are working on that and getting a seat for next year,” Sirotkin said. “We are working so that as soon as we get a decision we can think about some extra options. At the moment I can’t say anything officially.”