It’s hard to believe that Sergey Sirotkin is only the third Russian driver to race in Formula 1, following in the footsteps of compatriots Vitaly Petrov and Daniil Kvyat.
Born in Moscow in 1995, Sirotkin’s love affair with motorsport began early when he started karting, aged just seven. By the time he was 11 he had secured his first karting championship and three years on – in 2010 – he made his single-seater debut.
Success came quickly. In 2011 he was champion and runner-up respectively in the European and Italian Formula Abarth series, before quickly moving up to bigger and quicker cars in 2012, scoring race wins in the likes of Auto GP and Formula 3.
Despite relatively modest results in Formula Renault 3.5 in 2013, Sirotkin’s talent had become clear enough to catch the eye of F1 teams, with Sauber signing him as their test driver for 2014. A further career boost came with backing from the SMP Racing programme, which helps develops Russian drivers through every level of racing.
He left the Sauber fold to concentrate on racing in 2015, finishing as the highest-placed rookie in his maiden GP2 (now F2) campaign, which included a race win and five podium finishes. A second season brought a further two victories and third place overall – as well as another F1 testing contract, this time with Renault, which included several FP1 outings at Grand Prix weekends.
With relatively few race commitments – among them a Le Mans 24 Hours sportcar debut – his F1 mileage grew considerably in 2017, with another four FP1 appearances for Renault and two tests, including one for Williams in which he was evaluated against former Grand Prix winner Robert Kubica.
Williams were impressed – enough to sign him as Felipe Massa’s replacement to race alongside Lance Stroll for 2018.