Robert Kubica on his dramatic F1 return in Australian Grand Prix

Robert Kubica says a pre-race grid panic, plus a mirror falling off his Williams early in the Australian Grand Prix, added to the dramas of his Formula 1 return

Robert Kubica on his dramatic F1 return in Australian Grand Prix

Any hope of a good result in Kubica's first F1 race since the 2010 Abu Dhabi GP was dashed at the first corner when a collision with Pierre Gasly broke his front wing.

Even before that Kubica, who finished three laps down in 17th, said his first worry came when he formed up on the grid and realised that his view of the start lights was obscured.

"I had a bit of panic because when I stopped I couldn't see the lights," he said.

"The rear wing of the McLaren [of Carlos Sainz Jr] was hiding it.

"I could see the first block and not the rest. So I had to move to the left and it was a bit of a panic moment."

At the actual start Kubica "had a good launch but then I had a lot of wheelspin" with his choice of hard tyres and then "took it very safe and moved a lot to the inside over the kerb" at the first corner before making contact with Gasly.

"From what I saw Gasly moved quite a lot to the right and there was contact with Sainz," Kubica explained.

"He damaged my front wing. But I didn't realise 100 metres later that I lost all the wing: I thought I had lost half of it! This wing [flying off] caused other damage to the car, so we had to pit.

"The car was not feeling great, and then additionally on lap three of the race I lost one mirror, which made it even more difficult with blue flags. So it was quite hard."

Once he got into a rhythm, Kubica's pace improved in the race.

But he admitted an encouraging message on team radio felt odd in his position.

"I was told the pace was not bad, and actually it was good, for the car with the state [it was in]," he said.

"And I nearly started laughing because from the inside it felt very bad!"

Despite his difficult weekend, Kubica said there were "some positives" to take away.

"Yesterday I couldn't be happy but it was a complicated day," he said.

"Today was probably even more complicated but from the things I could have control over, I think I did a reasonable good job and I was quite confident that I could do it.

"Probably most of the people had doubts about my physical aspect, the first corner and the start.

"It was my first standing start after eight years and four months. I had never done a standing start on the grid since Abu Dhabi 2010 and actually it was quite good.

"But overall, I am leaving Australia with definitely more experience, and reasonably happy - although I will never think I would say something like this having this pace and finishing so far behind!"

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