Williams F1's Kubica has 'no race pace', baffled by gap to Russell

Williams Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica says he just has "no race pace" and cannot explain his deficit to team-mate George Russell

Williams F1's Kubica has 'no race pace', baffled by gap to Russell

Kubica has finished last of the runners in each of the three races since his return to F1, winding up over 16 seconds behind team-mate George Russell at Shanghai and classified 17th.

The Williams driver feels that long-run pace was one of his strongest points during his testing in 2018.

Kubica admitted he is baffled as to why he is unable to match his team-mate on Sunday.

He said: "I think that for whatever reason since I drove the new generation cars I had to work on my single-lap pace, but on the long runs I was always very good.

"And here since I drove this car - my first long run was in Australia - but the pace is nowhere and the feeling is much worse than I ever had on long runs.

"I have no grip. I think I managed to do something in qualifying because the grip delivered by the tyres is much higher, but I cannot do the things that the guys in front are doing, or even George, so it's very strange.

"I really tried everything but when you have no grip, there's no magic in this sport."

Kubica had qualified just 0.031s behind Russell on Saturday, but his average 10 fastest laps in the race were a full second slower than the Briton.

The Polish driver says the fact he felt his race pace was very strong with last year's car makes the current situation harder to accept.

"It looks like whenever the grip is lower, or even with the colder tyre temps when you struggle with the grip, I just cannot drive the car," Kubica said.

"And it was definitely not the case last year.

"As I said, probably last year I ended up the season saying I definitely had to improve something on single-lap new tyre [pace], but one thing I was not worried at all was the race pace.

"Actually, it was one of my strongest points, but I have no race pace."

Kubica said that he could not blame the car alone for his problems on race day.

"I have no race pace against my team-mate," he said. "And when you see exiting corners you are wheel-spinning and losing the car and he's pulling away.

"I'm not saying it's the car, but there's something we have to understand. I have very poor traction and actually after the debrief George said the traction was not so bad.

"As I said, it's not only the car. There are different factors, but that's how it is."

Kubica added that his team has been unable to make consistent improvements on how the car handles every time he is on track.

"I think the car is maybe getting slightly better sometimes and slightly worse other times.

"It's track-dependent, conditions-dependent and I think we had a better pace compared to others on Friday but you don't know what they are doing.

"Ten years ago in this kind of situation, I would try to push more. Probably I would do three or four laps quicker, but then probably I would be on the gravel with worn tyres and my pace would be slower.

"I really felt like I cannot do anything. I tried many things."

shares
comments
Mercedes' Wolff: Ferrari risks Formula 1 team orders 'can of worms'

Previous article

Mercedes' Wolff: Ferrari risks Formula 1 team orders 'can of worms'

Next article

Red Bull: F1 Chinese GP proved chassis progress, top speed flaw

Red Bull: F1 Chinese GP proved chassis progress, top speed flaw
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Robert Kubica , George Russell
Teams Williams
Author Pablo Elizalde
The driver problems facing Mercedes in 2021 Plus

The driver problems facing Mercedes in 2021

Ahead of the new Formula 1 season, reigning world champions Mercedes will take on challenges both old and new. This also can be said for its driver conundrum which could become key to sustaining its ongoing success

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
How Alpine's cure to 2021 F1 rules starts at the front Plus

How Alpine's cure to 2021 F1 rules starts at the front

A new name, new faces and new colours pulls the rebranded Alpine Formula 1 team into a new era while carrying over core elements of its 2020 car. But under the surface there's more than meets the eye with the A521 which hints at how the team will tackle 2021

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
Can Mercedes' W12 retain the team's crown? Plus

Can Mercedes' W12 retain the team's crown?

Replacing Formula 1's fastest car was never going to be an easy feat for Mercedes. Amid the technical rule tweaks to peg back the W12 and its 2021 rivals, the new Mercedes challenger will remain the target to beat

Formula 1
Mar 2, 2021
The big F1 questions of 2021 Plus

The big F1 questions of 2021

After an unprecedented season last year, there are plenty of questions and storylines for the upcoming Formula 1 campaign. Sky Sports F1 pundit Karun Chandhok gives his verdict

Formula 1
Mar 1, 2021
The pointed note that starts Ferrari's Leclerc vs Sainz era Plus

The pointed note that starts Ferrari's Leclerc vs Sainz era

Ferrari is starting its post-Sebastian Vettel age by welcoming Carlos Sainz Jr in alongside Charles Leclerc. But while Sainz has a tough challenge to match his new team-mate, Ferrari is also sending a message that previous intra-team spats must end

Formula 1
Mar 1, 2021
The mantra Ocon must follow to challenge Alonso Plus

The mantra Ocon must follow to challenge Alonso

OPINION: It's been an uneasy ride for Esteban Ocon since his F1 comeback - and fresh challenges lie in wait as he's joined by double world champion Fernando Alonso in the newly rebranded Alpine team. STUART CODLING sets out a roadmap to success

Formula 1
Feb 28, 2021
How McLaren’s new investors have already made an impact Plus

How McLaren’s new investors have already made an impact

OPINION: The deal McLaren concluded with MSP Sports Capital last year which will help the cash-strapped Formula 1 team pay for much-needed infrastructure upgrades, also points toward the future for F1 itself, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Feb 27, 2021
Why Verstappen isn't interested in hyping up Red Bull Plus

Why Verstappen isn't interested in hyping up Red Bull

In a pre-season where Red Bull has been unusually quiet, Max Verstappen has also been guarded about the team's fortunes in 2021. Even after trying the RB16B for the first time at Silverstone, the Dutchman was careful to manage expectations

Formula 1
Feb 26, 2021