Date: 21st January 2018 at 7:51am
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The final slot on the grid for the 2018 Formula One World Championship has now been filled.

The Williams Formula One team were the only team who had yet to confirm their driver line-up for the upcoming season.

They were looking to replace the retiring Felipe Massa and name Lance Stroll’s new team-mate.

The search evolved over many months.

Back in November it looked set to be a shoot-out between Reserve driver Paul di Resta and Robert Kubica.

In fact the two drivers did have a shoot-out test session in old Williams Formula One cars, not that it was ever revealed who the quickest was.

Then following his departure from the Red Bull stable, Daniil Kvyat entered the mix as his time with Toro Rosso, Red Bull Racing and then Toro Rosso came to yet another end.

But a late contender swooped in and claimed the prize and that person is Sergey Sirotkin.

Sirotkin impressed during the end-of-season Abu Dhabi test and of course also brings significant sponsorship with him, believed to be in the region of £15million.

Whilst it’s a shame that money talks at this level of Formula One, when there is a driver with talent and sponsorship available, that’s a hard package to resist even for Williams.

‘To say I’m happy and proud to join such a famous team like Williams is an understatement,’ Sirotkin told Sky Sports.

‘It took a huge amount of work to get where I am, and I’m really happy and thankful to everyone involved. The result of our combined efforts has helped me achieve my dream, and rest assured the team can rely on me to deliver my best.’

The announcement ends the potential fairytale of Robert Kubica returning to Formula One following his horrendous injury whilst rallying.

However, the hope is not lost as he was named the teams new reserve driver.

‘I feel in the best physical shape that I have ever been, but it has taken a lot of work to get to where I am now, so I’d like to thank Williams for the opportunities they have given me so far, and for putting their faith in me with this appointment,’

‘My ultimate goal remains to race again in Formula One and this is another important step in that direction: I cannot wait to get started.’
he said.