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Australian GP: Mixed qualifying for Kubica and Russell

By Andrew Hooper
March 16 2019

 Mixed qualifying for Kubica and Russell
Russell & Kubica

Qualifying for the 2019 Australian Grand Prix would see the ROKiT Williams racing team fini9sih in 19th and 20th positions with George Russell leading home team-mate Robert Kubica. The result was where their practice form had placed them in the times with both drivers been slowest the whole weekend.

But the session would be a very mixed time for the pair with Robert having a session that would see him make contact with the wall while George's run was far more straight forward with him simply trying to extract the best from the car.

In post qualifying interviews Robert would talk about his contact with the wall blaming it on a surprising improvement ion his feel with the car. He would find himself, much to his surprise, having more confidence in the FW42.

Robert would explain by saying: “In quali something strange happened, well not strange, something positive, but we need to understand the reason.”

“I was struggling with grip and then suddenly when I left the garage in Q1 for my third run I felt much better grip and I could actually drive the car for the first time today.

“We are probably not getting on with the tyres, but straight away I felt much better grip. It’s a shame because I made a mistake on the exit of Turn 10, clipping the wall. But that was my first lap where I could drive the car.

“We had nothing to lose and I felt more grip. Actually I was nearly one second (ahead) to my lap time before at the exit of Turn 9. It’s not even a corner Turn 10, but probably exiting Turn 9 I had a bit more grip and it pushed me a bit wider into 10. It’s a shame but that’s how it is.”

As for why the FW42 of Robert suddenly had an improvement in performance Robert would add: “We have to go through the data because there is a lot of difference, probably coming from something that we don’t give enough value to. It’s really affecting the performance of the car and the feeling of the car.”

Rookie Williams driver George Russell was also interviewed after the qualifying session and his comments were far more positive in terms of how he got the best out of the car but he did indicate that there are still issues with the FW42.

George said: “I think Barcelona I was probably at 99 percent but today, that was our maximum potential.”

“I think positively in the sense form my side and engineers was we got the maximum out of the package we’ve got.

“I was very satisfied to be honest and I think overall the car was very nice to drive. Myself and my two engineers who are the main focus of getting the most out of our side of the garage did a really great job.

“All three laps in Q1 I crossed the line with a smile on my face and felt like I got the most out of it, but obviously overall we want more than that, and obviously I want to be in the car longer than the first 18 minute of Q1.”

During this interview George would reveal that there was a “fundamental” issue with the FW42 the team is trying to understand. But he made it clear that he didn't think a resolution to the issue was close at hand.

“We understand what that is but it doesn’t mean we can wake up on Monday morning and rectify it,” Russell explained.

“To change something so fundamental will take months of development and work in the simulator, the designers working out how to do it, but that’s what needs to be done at the moment."


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