Kubica happy with second place
Thanks to a strange race
Robert, congratulations on your first podium for Renault. Did you expect this result when you lined up ninth on the grid?
Before the season, I think after two tests, I called my friend and I said ‘I think in Australia it will be possible to finish on the podium.’ That was around two months ago. However, as we saw yesterday, our pace was far off the podium, but with this strange race we were able to make up a lot of places and finish second.
You decided not to take a second pit stop for a new set of tyres. How hard was that call for you?
It was difficult because we have struggled with tyre warm-up, so when we saw Jenson being very quick we just pitted on the same lap as Felipe did. The mechanics did a fantastic job and I overtook Felipe in the pits, but Jenson was much quicker with one or two laps already on the tyres so it was difficult to fight with him. I thought we would pit again later in the race but the team said if we could manage it we should stay out, so I took a bit more care with the tyres. But it wasn’t easy because I had Lewis attacking me before he decided to pit. Then I had Felipe behind me again, so I was just taking care of the tyres but also keeping up good speed so that we could keep the second place
This is the first time you have finished in Melbourne. What does this result mean for you and the team?
Unfortunately, Australia was never lucky for me. I have been very quick each year and could have finished easily on the podium in the last two years if it was not for two crashes. We were not expecting to finish on the podium, so I think for Renault and myself it is a very special result after all the hard work over the winter, and I have to say a big thank you to everyone in the team. But we have to remain realistic: we are not on the pace to fight for the podium in a normal race, so we have to keep pushing, keep working and I am sure we will manage sooner or later to catch the top teams.
How much of a challenge did you have from the Ferrari?
I had more of a challenge from Hamilton and I was very surprised he pitted. First of all I thought he had a drive through penalty because for me it was strange that he was pitting. He had quite a difficult time to catch me, although there were a couple of places where he was very close to me and I think once he overshot the braking and nearly touched me. Felipe caught up with me quite quickly, but I knew the cars behind would struggle even more with the tyres, so I just settled into what I thought would be a reasonable pace without mistakes and brought the car home.
Do you think the higher temperature today were better for you, whereas the low temperature yesterday wasn’t so good?
We know where we are struggling and I think yesterday was unfortunately a good example. We were very strong in P1 on Friday where there was a lot of sunshine and hot track conditions. Then unfortunately clouds came in for the rest of the weekend, the temperature dropped and we were struggling to get heat in the tyres, especially in qualifying. So we are still not on the pace of the top cars, but today was a good example of not giving up, and with hard work sometimes you get paid back