The Russian driver hoping to race for Sauber next season has made his Formula One debut on home soil. Sergey Sirotkin drove an F1 car for the first time over the weekend as he and the team got their first taste of the new Sochi circuit that will host the inaugural Russian Grand Prix next October.
The show run saw Sirotkin blast the 2012 Sauber C31 along the 700 metres of tarmac that are already finished, giving the 18-year-old a sample of what lies ahead of him next year.
These were my first metres in a Formula One car, which obviously is something very special, even though it was only a short part of the Sochi track, said Sirotkin. Nevertheless I was able to gain a first impression, and this was awesome. It was fun to drive in front of such a big crowd, particularly because most of them were compatriots. Russia can be proud of this great track.
Sauber team principal, Monisha Kaltenborn, added: We are proud to be part of this historic event - a Russian driver drives a Formula One car for the first time at the track in Sochi. The show run marks an important milestone in the lead up to the inaugural Russian Formula One Grand Prix, which our team is looking forward to.
Sirotkin is being prepared for a 2014 race drive with Sauber as part of a deal between the team and Russian backers and is expected to undergo an extensive testing programme over the winter to gain the required FIA super license. He is currently competing in Formula Renault 3.5 and has scored two podiums this season.
The Russian-owned Marussia team were also in action in Sochi, which will hold the 2014 Winter Olympics ahead of next years Grand Prix, with reserve driver Rodolfo Gonzalez tearing up the streets, much to the delight of the thousands of spectators.
I have enjoyed every second of my participation here in Sochi this weekend, Gonzalez told the Marussia website. Of course, we take part in many demonstration events and relish the opportunity to show the fans what a Formula One car can do, but this one feels extra special because we are bringing the team and our sport home to Russia.
It is nice to see the venue of the Grand Prix of Russia ahead of time and I think the next 12 months for this city and the Russian people will be very exciting indeed. I cant wait to return very soon - maybe to try my hand at some Olympic sports in February!
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