A downbeat Robert Kubica believes he has a mountain to climb if he’s to achieve a decent result at Sunday’s Korean Grand Prix, and believes that starting from the dirtier left-hand side of the grid will be a critical factor in the race.
The Renault driver had looked a possible candidate for pole position after showing excellent pace – including topping the timesheets in the final practice session – throughout the weekend, but the Pole will line up in a rather lowly eight place after his grip deteriorated in the top-ten qualifying shootout.
Equating a P8 grid slot to effectively be comparable to P11 – such is the relative lack of grip on the dirtier side of the pit straight – Kubica said: “We have to make sure that we lose as little as possible [off the start line] because definitely we will lose a lot of ground.”
Added to that, he added, unless it rains during the race, then overtaking opportunities might be few and far between because of the lack of grip off the racing line.
Even with the Hermann Tilke designed circuit presenting three potential passing spots on the 5-kilometre lap, Kubica said: “Even if you get a better position or side by side it is still very difficult to out-brake [another driver] … If you miss the apex you go off track and, as I said before, as soon as you go off line it gets hard.”
The Russian driver seemed closer to Kubica’s pace this weekend, but botched his last flying lap with a high-speed spin when he got onto the exit kerbs.