The traditional Thursday Drivers’ press conference featured four drivers. The main topics of the session were Sauber’s announcement about Ericsson, and the first Formula 1 home race for Sirotkin.
Despite Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin has been in Sochi every year since 2014 with performances in GP2 and taking part in some Friday practices with Renault, this will be his first Russian Grand Prix as a Formula 1 driver. No doubts this weekend is a special one for Sirotkin, with a lot of support from the Russian fans, but at the same time with high pressure.
“The Russian Grand Prix this year is going to be special, for sure. Obviously being here every year, since F1 came here, I raced here in GP2, but it’s all quite different from being here as a race Formula 1 driver. I can feel it already now, it’s a lot of attention, a lot of support, which is very nice to feel as s driver, it’s very nice to feel especially in the situation we are this year. I will try to get the best from it, try to get energy from it and keep going. So, it’s a pleasure to be here and race in front of the home crowd”.
One of the most popular questions to Sergey this weekend is about his next season. At the beginning of this year Williams called the contract with the Russian as a “multi-year”, but it’s still unknown where Sergey will be in 2019. Sirotkin can’t guarantee anything, but he is still patient and calm.
“I definitely know what I want to be doing in 2019. I’m not sure I can guarantee something right here, right now. But I mean, I think it’s quite obvious, with the way everything is developing. So, yeah, I can’t guarantee something right now, but at the same time I’m not too much worried about the future”.
This week Sauber confirmed Marcus Ericsson will leave the team next year, and will be replaced by the rookie Antonio Giovinazzi. Marcus is going to remain with the team in 2019, being its Third driver and Brand Ambassador. Ericsson says he is happy to be with the team, but still looking to be involved in racing, even in some other racing series.
“It’s obviously disappointing to be not racing. Still, I’m happy to be able to continue my relationship with the team. But I want to race still, so I’m looking at different options on how to keep doin that and looking at everything really, what I can do, in what series and what it could be – but it’s still a bit early”.
Charles Leclerc is already confirmed as a Vettel’s teammate in Ferrari next year. Nevertheless, now the F1 rookie is concentrated on the remaining six races and doesn’t think too much about his first victory with Scuderia.
“First of all, I have to finish this season on a high, which is for now the main importance to me. There are still six races to go, so I’ll first try to focus on that. Obviously, it’s a dream come true to be racing for Ferrari next year – but I’m trying to take it out of my mind to focus fully on the end of this season”.
Last year in Sochi Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas claimed his first victory in his F1 career. This season the Finn still hasn’t won, so the Russian Grand Prix can be an excellent chance for him to finally do it.
“You never forget the first time. It was a good memory and it will be nice to be back here. Strong track normally. I’ve had pretty decent races so in that way it’s a nice approach to the weekend”.