Robert Kubica is back in Formula 1 tomorrow, testing for Renault at the Hungaroring ahead of his prospective return to the sport. If the test goes well, there’s a real chance we could see the brilliant Polish driver return to racing.
Here are five of his greatest drives from his 76 Grand Prix races….
5 – 2010 Australian Grand Prix
Kubica was impressive throughout the 2010 season. Whilst teammate Vitaly Petrov managed just 27 points, Kubica scored 136 on his way to 8th in the championship in an under-performing Renault.
After qualifying down in ninth for the second round of the season, Kubica’s aim would’ve just been to score some solid points. However, a stunning start shot the Renault up five places to fourth.
From there, Kubica benefited from Red Bull’s misfortunes to move up to second, and fended off Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa superbly from there in a defensive masterclass to hold that spot to the chequered flag.
4 – 2006 Italian Grand Prix
Kubica joined Formula 1 in 2006 following Jacques Villeneuve’s well-publicised departure from BMW Sauber. In just his third Grand Prix, at Monza, the Sauber was incredibly competitive, and whilst teammate Nick Heidfeld qualified an excellent third, Kubica put in a solid effort to place sixth.
Once again, a rocket start was the making of the Polish driver’s race, this time moving straight up to third. From there, he held off World Champion Fernando Alonso superbly for over half the race before the Spaniard eventually passed during pitstops. However, an engine failure for Alonso would give Kubica third place back, which he held to the flag to pick up his first career podium.
3 – 2008 Monaco Grand Prix
Kubica’s 2008 season in general was outstanding but his drive in terrible wet conditions at Monte-Carlo was a particular highlight.
It was a race where most drivers, understandably, made mistakes. Lewis Hamilton famously hit the wall on the exit of Tabac early on in the race for example, and was lucky to get away with just a puncture.
After qualifying fifth, Kubica was one of only a few drivers to keep their car on track throughout the Grand Prix. He didn’t have the pace to beat Hamilton, who recovered magnificently from his earlier issue, but his speed and consistency was enough for him to finish second, just three seconds behind the McLaren at the flag.
2 – 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix
This race is mostly remembered as the day Jenson Button picked up his World Championship. However it was also the scene of yet another great Kubica drive.
The 2009 BMW Sauber was a terrible car to drive. Such was the lack of downforce on the car, Heidfeld and Kubica lined up 17th and 18th for the Monaco Grand Prix. By Brazil, the car had somewhat improved, and Kubica in changeable conditions was able to qualify in eighth.
The race itself was chaotic. Once again, Kubica drove a super first lap, quickly moving his way up to third behind Rubens Barrichello and Mark Webber. The Polish driver’s race pace was excellent. Both him and Webber passed Barrichello, and Kubica kept within 10 seconds of Webber to the finish, picking up another second place.
1- 2008 Canadian Grand Prix
It would be rude not to say Kubica’s only Grand Prix win wasn’t his finest drive.
Returning to the site of his horrendous crash just one year ago, where he was lucky to escape with his life, Kubica pulled off a fairytale result for BMW Sauber.
Undoubtedly, Kubica was helped by a bizarre incident on pit road, where under a red light, Lewis Hamilton crashed into the back of Kimi Raikkonen, taking both race contenders out. Kubica avoided the incident and went on to dominate the rest of the race, leading home his teammate Heidfeld in a famous Sauber 1-2 by over 16 seconds.
It was the drive of a champion, a champion we all expected to see, but a cruel injury looked to have denied. But with Kubica’s fitness looking better and better, we may yet see him win a Formula 1 title in the future.