Sergey Sirotkin admits that he "still can't believe" that he will be without a Formula 1 drive in 2019. Williams confirmed on Thursday that Robert Kubica would fill the second seat at the team next year, alongside current Formula 2 front-runner George Russell.
Sirotkin made his F1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix earlier this year after Williams opted for him over Pole Kubica. However, the Grove outfit has now decided to give the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix winner the 2019 drive, making for a fairy tale comeback after his horrific rally accident in 2011.
Sirotkin has had a tough year in the sport and is set to end the season bottom of the driver's standings. The Williams FW41 has been particularly difficult to navigate throughout the season, leaving the team languishing at the back of the field.
The Russian driver said that Kubica's announcement didn't come as a surprise to him, but says that it is a hard pill to swallow: "Definitely bad news for me," he said. "It wasn’t that new, to be honest. I was informed from the team yesterday night that it was happening.
“Already last week I had a few talks with SMP Racing where we analyzed how the things were moving and honestly, I think it’s been quite obvious after those meetings that we don’t want to take part in it anymore," the former GP2 driver continued.
“Already from last week I kind of knew it was going to happen. I had a week to prepare myself. But I couldn’t prepare myself yet, I still can’t believe it’s happening, so yeah, it is a tough moment for me. It all depends how you want to push the things.”
Sirotkin believes that he would have been able to unleash a lot more if he had a car capable of competing: "I feel very sad today because I think, honestly I think that we did a good job. The way we started and how we reacted to that, and how we’ve been as one united team, to be honest I’m happy.
“For sure there were certain situations where I could do better, where I could drive better — everything in your life looking back in the past there’s many things you can do in your life, that’s the same in racing. But I think the way we worked and we are now, I feel so sad that I didn’t do all what I could in F1.
“I think I could do much, much more — let me say it in the way that if at some point I had another chance I’m really ready to use it and prove that I could show much more than for obvious reasons I could not do this year,” Sirotkin concluded.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing