Williams: Sergey Sirotkin doesn't act like an F1 rookie

Formula 1 debutant Sergey Sirotkin acts like an “old hand” rather than a rookie, according to Williams Deputy Team Principal Claire Williams.

Sirotkin, 22, has stepped up to Formula 1 with Williams after a junior career which yielded back-to-back third places in GP2, as well as race-winning performances in Formula Renault 3.5

The Russian had prior Formula 1 experience before joining Williams, competing in test and practice sessions in 2014 (with Sauber) and 2016/17 (at Renault).

Williams praised the manner in which Sirotkin has approached his rookie campaign in the sport, and lauded his feedback across the test sessions in the FW41.

“Sergey has done a fantastic job, and we are delighted,” she said.

“He has only been in the team a short while yet he has spent a huge amount of time with us back in the factory already, pretty much all of January he was at Grove with us.

“That was great as I haven’t seen race drivers do that for a long time and I really feel that they need to integrate on a daily basis with the team if they are going to achieve what they want to.

“He kept his head down [during testing] and has done what we have asked of him in the car – long running, short running – and he has given some really great feedback which is what we wanted to see of him.

“From my perspective he might be a rookie but he certainly doesn’t act like one.

“He acts like an old hand who has been in this paddock driving Formula 1 cars for years so he is a great addition to the team and I am really pleased.”

Sirotkin will partner sophomore Lance Stroll, and Williams described the 19-year-old as a “changed character” compared to 12 months ago.

“I know there was a lot of talk about our driver line-up, but Lance has done a lot of work over the winter to make sure he is really prepared going into this season,” she commented.

“I think one of the areas was around his short runs and qualifying laps, so he's done some good work in the simulator with that, as I said, another programme that we have running behind-the-scenes with him. He'll continue that work throughout the year.

“He's definitely a changed character from where we were this time last year, but Lance is despite his young age, he's incredibly confident, and that translates.

“He knows what he wants and he's not afraid to ask the engineers for it. He's a much more of an all-rounder now.

“There's still clearly work to be done, as everyone in life still has work to do, whatever age you are or however much experience you have in the career that you're in.

“But he's definitely a driver that knows what he's doing. It's going to be exciting to see what he delivers this year.”