Robert Kubica believes that Williams Racing can find upsides to a difficult start to its 2019 Formula 1 season at the Australian Grand Prix.
Kubica completed his first full F1 weekend in over eight years, returning from a horrendous arm injury sustained in a rallying crash in the winter of 2011, by finishing last of the 17 classified runners at Albert Park and three laps down on race winner Valtteri Bottas.
The Pole sustained front wing damage on lap one by tangling with the out-of-position Red Bull Racing car of Pierre Gasly and was forced to pit for repairs.
Kubica also lost one of his rear view mirrors on lap three of the 58-lap race, making getting out of the way of the leading cars more difficult.
The 34-year-old one-time F1 race winner said that he was pleasantly surprised with his start on the hard compound tyres, but the collision with Gasly forced Williams into changing its strategy.
“It definitely wasn’t an easy race and we knew that before the start,” Kubica said.
“We opted to start on the hard tyre to get experience on them but, I got a good start for those tyres.
“In turn one, I was on the inside and on the exit of the corner one of the Red Bull’s moved right to avoid another contact and we touched, damaging my front wing so I had to come in to box.
“Additionally, on lap three, I lost one of my mirrors, so the blue flags weren’t easy.”
Despite the troubles, Kubica said that Williams could take positives from a weekend that it effectively used as a test session to further its understanding of the FW42.
Williams was late to winter testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya last month due to manufacturing issues.
Rookie team-mate George Russell finished one place and one lap ahead of Kubica, but took no satisfaction in fighting for penultimate place in qualifying and the race.
“I know it sounds strange, and I thought I would never say something like this, although it was very difficult I think there were some positives,” Kubica added.
“I want to thank again everyone in the team.”