Robert Kubica was surprised by the amount of Polish support which appeared for him in his second appearance for Alfa Romeo last weekend.

The one-time grand prix winner returned as a substitute for Kimi Raikkonen again in the Italian Grand Prix. Kubica, who came close to signing for Ferrari earlier in his career, said he had been hoping for a chance to return to the venue.

“I always wanted to do [first practice] in Monza just because I always feel quite special emotions here,” he said. “It’s one of the tracks where I enter, whatever I’m coming to the paddock, if it’s ELMS or even some testing, it gives me a special feeling.

“In the end, 10 years ago, I was very close to racing for an Italian brand, which was probably one of my dreams. I raced for an Italian brand, a different one, but it was still a nice privilege.

“For sure we didn’t achieve what we were hoping for as a team as a final result. But we gave everything and I hope fans enjoy it and appreciate it. I would like also to thank the Polish fans because they was, extremely, a lot of flags. Surprisingly, more Polish flags than Italians here.”

The crowd was restricted to a maximum of just 25,000 spectators for last weekend’s race due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Kubica qualified 17th and finished three places higher after letting team mate Antonio Giovinazzi by with five laps to go. He spent the opening part of the race chasing former Williams team mate George Russell.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“It was a difficult race with sliding a lot, especially on the hard compound,” said Kubica. “Difficult to follow the other cars.

Kubica made his 99th F1 start at Monza

“I think generally we were running a lower level of downforce or very low level downforce compared to the others. We were very strong on the straight line. This helps us to protect [the tyres] but to follow the others, at least I struggled a lot in that. The tyres were sliding lot, overheating, so it wasn’t easy.

“The first stint with hard tyres actually pace-wise was looking not good but in the end it was tending to our way with George having quite a lot of difficulties with the tyres.”

Following the Safety Car period Kubica lost a position to Sebastian Vettel while following Nicholas Latifi.

“On the restart I was very close to Ocon but I lost so much grip, so much downforce, and actually this complicated my life a bit,” he said. “I defended pretty well with Seb for a few laps and trying to also stay attached to Latifi, which I was managing.

“But when Seb overtook me, I couldn’t follow him. And then we swapped positions with Antonio so we finished the race like this.”

Raikkonen is due to return to the car at the next round in Russia.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 F1 season

Browse all 2021 F1 season articles

Source link