RACE DEBRIEF

In a season that’s hardly abounded with positive news stories for Williams, Q1 in Baku may have been the team’s 2019 nadir so far, as Robert Kubica put his FW42 heavily into the wall at Turn 8, just a day after team mate George Russell had required a new chassis after driving over a drain cover.

Kubica was pushing hard as he approached Turn 8 in the first segment of qualifying, but got too greedy on entry to the corner, pummelling the inside barrier and ripping off the front left section of his car before the FW42 embedded itself in the outside one.

“I cut too much on the inside,” explained Kubica afterwards, “clipped the inside wall and then that launched me on the outside of the corner. It’s a very narrow place, but we know this, and unfortunately it happened.

“That’s how it is, I paid quite a high price for a relatively small mistake, but in that place it’s like this, so it’s a shame.”

FP1: Russell drain cover damage brings early end to Baku practice

The crash left Kubica's FW42 in a sorry state. But in Formula 1, it ain’t over until it’s over, and as the sun set on Saturday’s action in Baku, Williams confirmed that they’d be able to field two cars for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, revealing that they had enough spares to replace both front corners on Kubica’s car, as well as the brakes and the steering column. A change to the spec of some of those parts means the Pole will be required to start the race from the pit lane.

So a silver lining for the Grove team, even if their drivers are set to begin the Grand Prix from the back of the grid. But apart from the expense of the rebuild, it also means the second long night in a row for the Williams mechanics, who worked hard on Friday building up a new chassis for George Russell following his drain incident in Free Practice 1.

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