Robert Kubica returned to Formula 1 after his life-changing rally crash in 2011, but it wasn’t the fairytale season that he and many others had hoped for. Here are all the facts and stats from Kubica’s comeback year.
The argument on whether Robert Kubica was still the driver he was ten years ago will go on, but the simple fact is that he never had the opportunity to show his skills in wheel-to-wheel battles. Given Williams’ uncompetitive car, the only car he really had to fight with was his team-mate.
There were some strengths to Kubica’s season. His starts saw him end the first lap ahead of his team-mate more often that not – but the fact that he qualified behind George Russell at every round of the season is telling. Furthermore, he went on to finish behind his team-mate in sixteen of this year’s eighteen races that both Williams cars completed.
Kubica scored Williams’ only point of the season in Germany, but that was the only time he appeared anywhere near the points paying positions. Nevertheless, the fact that Kubica was able to return to the pinnacle of motorsport remains a remarkable feat; even if the year didn’t end in the glory that he and his passionate fans would have hoped.
A STATISTIC FROM EVERY GRAND PRIX
Australia: On his return to Formula 1, Robert Kubica finished in seventeenth position for the first time in his career at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix. Other than races where he’s retired, the Polish driver had only finished lower than that in two Grands Prix – both eighteenth places in the 2007 Malaysia and 2009 Bahrain Grands Prix.
Bahrain: Robert Kubica recorded his worst Bahrain Grand Prix result in 2019, as he finished sixteenth for the first time in his career. It meant that the Polish driver had now finished a Grand Prix in every position between first and eighteenth, aside from fifteenth.
China: With eighteenth on the grid, Robert Kubica equalled his worst Chinese Grand Prix qualifying performance in 2019, having also qualified 18th for the 2009 race. The only other time he had qualified 18th was for the 2009 Monaco Grand Prix.
Azerbaijan: After his qualifying crash in the 2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Robert Kubica recorded the first pit-lane start of his Formula 1 career. In all of the first four races of the year, the Williams driver finished last of the cars still running at the end of the race.
Spain: At the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix, Robert Kubica recorded his worst qualifying performance at Catalunya. He failed to reach the final part of qualifying for the first time at the circuit, and was beaten by his team-mate for the first time at the track. He finished last of the cars still running at the end of the race for the fifth time in the five races.
Monaco: For the first time since his F1 return, Robert Kubica didn’t finish last of the cars running at the end of the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix. Antonio Giovinazzi finished behind him.
Canada: At the 2019 Canadian Grand Prix, Robert Kubica became the first driver to finish eighteenth in three consecutive races. Kubica was one of three well-experienced drivers to record their first Q1 elimination at the Canadian Grand Prix, the others being Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez. The Pole had never failed to qualify in the top eight at the track before the 2019 weekend.
France: At the 2019 French Grand Prix, Robert Kubica finished eighteenth once again. He had finished all of the last four races in eighteenth place. Before 2019, he’d never finished more than two consecutive races in the same position.
Austria: Every car finished the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix. It’s the first time there has been a 100% finish rate at the event. Robert Kubica finished last of the twenty cars, making this race the first ever in which a Williams car has finished in 20th place. Felipe Massa was classified in 20th at the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix, but didn’t finish the race.
Britain: Robert Kubica qualified last for the seventh consecutive race at the 2019 British Grand Prix. The only time he hadn’t qualified last up to that point was in China, where he qualified eighteenth – but two drivers failed to set qualifying times in that session.
Germany: At the 2019 German Grand Prix, Robert Kubica scored his first point since the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It was also the first time Williams have scored a point since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix. Kubica’s point came 8 years, 8 months and 14 days after his last, making it a new record for a gap between points-scoring appearances. The previous record was held by Lucien Bianchi for over 50 years. Kubica also became the 100th different driver to score points with three different teams.
Hungary: Robert Kubica finished nineteenth for the first time in his career at the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix. It meant that he had finished in every position between 1st and 20th during his 88 race starts.
Belgium: At the 2019 Belgian Grand Prix, Robert Kubica became the first driver to record ten 20th place qualifications in a single season.
Italy: The 2019 Italian Grand Prix marked Robert Kubica’s worst Monza result. He was eliminated in Q1 for the first time at the track and lost positions from where he started for the first time at the circuit.
Singapore: For the first time in his four appearances at the Marina Bay Circuit, Robert Kubica failed to qualify in the top eight at the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix. In the race, he maintained his record of being one of 18 drivers to have a 100% finish rate at the event.
Russia: Robert Kubica retired from the 2019 Russian Grand Prix, making it his first DNF since the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix. It was also the first DNF for the driver starting from eighteenth on the grid at Sochi Autodrom.
Japan: After crashing out in qualifying for the 2019 Japanese Grand Prix, Robert Kubica recorded his third pit lane start of the season. He had more pit lane starts than anyone else in 2019.
Mexico: On his first appearance at the Mexico Grand Prix, Robert Kubica became one of 52 drivers to have a 100% finish rate at the event.
United States: Robert Kubica’s retirement from the 2019 United States Grand Prix marked Williams’ first non-finish at the Circuit of the Americas since both cars failed to finish in 2015.
Brazil: Despite recording his worst result at the Brazilian Grand Prix, 2019 saw Robert Kubica maintain his 100% finish rate at Interlagos.
Abu Dhabi: Robert Kubica made his 97th, and likely final, F1 appearance at the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It means that he ends his career with exactly the same number of Grand Prix starts as Marcus Ericsson.
After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fifth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and GPDestinations. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.