Hersham's Bird hoping GP2 success can help him in to Formula One ranks
Hersham race ace Sam Bird has played down the significance of the GP2 Series title decider in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
The 26-year-old Russian Time driver, a test driver for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team, is seven points adrift of championship leader Fabio Leimer going into the final two rounds at the Yas Marina Circuit.
Bird, pictured below celebrating a win in Bahrain, has won five races this season – amassing 172 championship points – and is after more to bag both the drivers’ and team titles.
“It does feel like the culmination of a lot of hard work. We started off the year not really knowing what we wanted to do,” he said.
“The car was quite basic and not the fastest on the grid at the start of the season and we turned it in to a race winner.
“Whatever the outcome, I know I have given it 100 per cent this year and managed to win five or more races.
“Hopefully, I can make it six or seven, but it has been a great year anyway.”
The GP2 series is the breeding ground for Formula One race stars of the future, with Bird having already been tipped as the next Brit to step in to the F1 ranks – joining Scotsman Paul Di Resta, Max Chilton, Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton on the grid.
And the Roehampton-born rising star wants to make that step in 2014.
“We’re exploring all avenues, but Formula One is the main goal,” he added.
“There are good leads and opportunities in DTM touring car racing and Indy Car racing in America, so we are not ruling anything out at this moment, but the main aim is to be in Formula One in 2014.”