November 22, 2018 / 3:25 PM / 2 months ago

Motor racing: Sirotkin loses F1 seat but still leading the fan vote

FILE PHOTO: Formula One F1 - Russian Grand Prix - Sochi, Russia - September 30, 2018 Williams' Sergey Sirotkin before the race REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Sergey Sirotkin lost his job as a Formula One driver when Williams handed the seat to Poland’s Robert Kubica on Thursday but the Russian could still end the season with a triumph of sorts.

The rookie, who has scored one point from 20 races to date and is last in the championship, is leading a Sky Sports F1 online vote for the driver of the season by a significant margin.

As of Thursday, Sirotkin boasted a staggering 74,900 votes compared to five times world champion Lewis Hamilton, winner of 10 races this year for Mercedes, who was in second place on 42,600.

Third was Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on 29,500.

The figures have given rise to social media amusement and suspicion that the poll has been ‘hijacked’ by Russian bots or simply those enjoying a practical joke.

“Sirotkin all the way. Greatest driver ever to score 1 world championship point in 2018,” declared Twitter user @cosam10.

“If you’re going to troll, you should’ve chosen Stroll, lol,” wrote @jimmy_bennett23, referring to Sirotkin’s Canadian team mate Lance Stroll.

Voting closes after Sunday’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at the Yas Marina circuit where, on the evidence so far, Sirotkin must surely also be a contender for Formula One’s online ‘driver of the day’ fan vote.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Toby Davis

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