Robert Kubica, whose Thursday affirmation as a Williams driver for next year left Sirotkin without a ride for 2019, had replaced the Russian in the previous FP1 session, and has been similarly last.

“Quite a demanding session,” Sirotkin said after FP2.” [We ] really struggled on the qualy runs.

“We will be exploring what it could be, because it has been the worst run of the calendar year, which is for sure. So it must be something major, it is not a matter of small things.

“Afterwards we still had a hope it is probably the [hypersoft] compound, probably something connected to this or still to the hot track – but actually on long runs on primes [supersofts] it felt exactly the same.

“It has been undoubtedly the most difficult FP2 in the summer, which is somewhat weird to have it in that instant in such a situation.

“I am very sure we will find something tonight, because it ought to be something [as the reason] why we’re fighting so much.”

Sirotkin reiterated that he found the time of his poor session”quite strange”.

“I don’t understand why it is happening right here at the instant, but it is what it is,” he explained.

“Still a day tomorrow I am awaiting. It is the last race and I am only hoping to enjoy and do the very best I can.”

The Russian driver admitted after Kubica’s statement that he was”very sad” and fighting to believe that he wouldn’t be on the grid 2019.

Asked whether his motivation had taken a hit for Abu Dhabi, Sirotkin said:”I am not thinking about it whatsoever. Whenever you are in the car, you think [about ] the way you push it.

“And that I am simply hoping to enjoy it, even if I am honest, it was undoubtedly the least fun session… probably one of the less pleasurable sessions of the year.

“I mean, I try to find it in this way, try to at least be approaching it this way. So yeah, no, I did not have this idea for another in my head when I’ve been in the car.”

Sergey Sirotkin, Williams FW41

Williams FW41, sergey Sirotkin

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / LAT Images