Kubica pays 'high price' for error in Baku qualifying

Robert Kubica (POL), Williams F1 Team 27.04.2019.
© XPB 

Robert Kubica was left ruing another hard day at the office after his qualifying session for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix ended prematurely in the safety barriers at turn 8.

Kubica had just cut the kerb at the previous corner and damaged the left-front suspension of his Williams, sending it careering across the track where it embedded itself nose-first in the TechPro barriers.

“I clipped the inside with the front left which pushed me into the wall,” Kubica told the BBC afterwards.

“I cut too much on the inside,” he elaborated. "Clipped the inside wall and then that launched me on the outside of the corner.

"It’s a very narrow place, but we know this, and unfortunately it happened," he added. "[It] is the narrowest point on the Formula 1 calendar.

“It’s the worst place you can make those kind of evaluations," he sighed. "Unfortunately I paid quite a high price, that’s how it is."

The 34-year-old wasn't looking to make excuses for what was to blame for the accident. "The temperature is not helping us, but this was a driver mistake and we will evaluate the car for damage."

According to the car's sensors, the impact was heavy enough that Kubica was required to attend a check-up back at the medical centre before he could return to the team garage.

“It’s all OK,” he reported. “It’s not a huge impact but of course the medical centre they had to - for precautions - do all the tests. I feel good so no problem."

While Kubica was cleared to return to driving duties, there was initially some doubt as to whether the team would be able to find him a car in time for Sunday's race.

The team had already been forced to use their spare car and a significant proportion of their limited spare parts to rebuild George Russell's care after the Briton as involved in a bizarre accident in Friday practice when a drain cover came lose and destroyed the underside of the FW42.

But an official team statement confirmed that they would indeed be able to repair Kubica's car in time for the green flag tomorrow.

George Russell (GBR) Williams Racing FW42. 27.04.2019.

“We are currently working to fix the front end of Robert’s car,” the team stated. “We will replace both front corners, brakes and steering column on his car following the accident.

"But we have replacement parts available for all of this.”

"We are assessing the damage on Robert’s car but expect to be able to make the necessary repairs ahead of tomorrow’s race," added senior race engineer Dave Robson.

It means that Kubica will line up in 19th place on the grid, with Red Bull's Pierre Gasly required to start from the pit lane due to a weighbridge infraction during Friday's afternoon practice session.

Kubica's team mate Russell will be just ahead of him on the grid in 18th place having set a faster time in Q1 before the Pole's accident triggered a red flag.

"I went into qualifying quite blind after missing all the running yesterday," said the rookie driver. "Baku is a circuit that requires a lot confidence for you to maintain your momentum.

"From a personal perspective, I felt comfortable during qualifying and got the most out of the package.

"It’s been a tough weekend and will be a long race tomorrow, but we must stay positive and keep making the most of the situation."

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