Sergey Sirotkin found it "difficult" missing out on a Formula 1 drive with Renault for the 2018 season before landing on his feet with Williams by securing a full-time seat.

Sirotkin worked with Renault in a development role through 2016 and 2017, appearing in four free practice sessions last year as part of his push for a full-time race seat, only to lose out to Carlos Sainz Jr.

Sirotkin was able to move into contention to replace Felipe Massa at Williams following the Brazilian's decision to retire from F1, and was confirmed in the seat in January before making his first pre-season testing appearance with the team last week.

2018 will mark Sirotkin's first full F1 season despite being in the running for drives at Sauber and Renault in the past, with the Russian admitting that missing out on a drive at the latter was particularly tough to take.

"With Sauber it was not really a full focus on [an F1 seat], it came as quick as it disappeared to be honest," Sirotkin explained.

"I was still doing my career in World Series and GP2, and OK, it was a good opportunity, but at the end of the day it was not something I put all my life into. I was still racing and winning the racing and hitting my own targets and that’s what I was trying to continue to do.

"It was a bit more difficult with Renault last year, because it was the first season I didn’t race when I was fully dedicated to the team and I worked hard for them.

"Then at some points, when you realise it’s not going the way you expected it to be going, it’s definitely not the best feeling. I was still travelling, still doing a lot of work and then not so much time behind the wheel, so you don’t get as much satisfaction back.

"It’s not the easiest feeling and it’s a period that ended up being much more difficult than I imagined it to be.

"But I learned from it and I maximised it and I need to thank them as well for me making me the driver I am now and getting me where I am now."


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