Williams slow, compromised, difficult to drive - Robert Kubica

Williams’ current position in the Formula 1 pecking order was brutally exposed during practice for the Australian Grand Prix, with the team substantially off the pace of its opponents.

Williams endured a miserable 2018, slumping to last in the Constructors’ Championship, and suffered a troubled build-up to the opening 2019 event, having struggled through testing, with Technical Director Paddy Lowe taking a leave of absence.

Williams’ drivers finished last in both 90-minute practice sessions at Albert Park, with Robert Kubica ahead in first practice before George Russell edged his team-mate later in the afternoon.

But Kubica’s time in the first session was 4.315s behind pacesetter Lewis Hamilton, and almost two seconds down on the best achieved by nearest rival Lando Norris.

That deficit remained pronounced during the second session as Russell finished 3.853s behind Hamilton and was 1.7s adrift of ex-F2 opponent Norris, who again propped up the midfield.

“Unfortunately the feeling is compromised a bit with the difficulties we are having, and especially the second free practice, there was quite a lot of compromise with some damages we faced in the car,” said Kubica, who did not divulge specific details other than asserting he had to stay off the kerbs.

“We tried to fix the parts, but unfortunately we don’t have a lot of spares, so we have to do the maximum from what we have.

“The car, it is difficult to drive, and if you face damages, it is even more difficult.

“But anyway, I think it’s good to be here. I know it sounds strange because normally when you are so slow, it’s difficult to find positives.

“But I think as always you try to do the maximum from what you have, and this will be the target tomorrow.”

Russell, preparing for his Grand Prix debut after stepping up off the back of successive titles in Formula 2 and GP3, conveyed optimism, albeit while realistic over Williams’ prospects.

“We knew what we were in for at this race and probably the first couple of races, and we just need to focus on building on that, and ensure come mid-season and the end of the year that we have something better,” said Russell.

“We’re running at the same sort of level as everybody else really.

“We’ll have the same sort of improvements from Saturday, but the same as everybody else I think. I’d be very shocked if we qualify better than the last row of the grid.”