Robert Kubica was relieved to qualify in third place for tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix, after he feared that fuel pick-up problem would relegate him further down the top ten.
The Polish driver continued to shine around the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, and had sat in second for the final segment of the session before his car ground to a hault.
However, the 25-year-old would benefit from a late rain shower, which seen only Lewis Hamilton manage to improve on his time.
As a result, Kubica remains confident of a strong performance in tomorrow’s race and is hoping that the team will continue to reap rewards from its new F-duct system.
Team-mate Vitaly Petrov will did not set a time in qualifying after spinning out on a wet patch at turn nine.
Robert Kubica, 3rd: We have been in the top five in every session, in all conditions, this weekend, and going into qualifying we were hoping that it might be possible to get third place. This is the first race at which we have used our F-duct and I must say congratulations to everybody at the factory because it has worked perfectly from the first lap in practice. In fact, I was in second position at the end of my first run in Q3 but I wasn’t able to use my second set of option tyres.
The car cut out just before the pit lane on my in-lap, and after the mechanics had pushed me back to the garage, we didn’t have time to do another run. At the end of the session, I was standing in the pits, watching the other cars and praying for rain when a few drops started to fall – and only Lewis was able to improve his time. It meant I lost a place on the front row, but I am still in a strong position for tomorrow, and now we need to wait and see what happens – with the race and with the weather.
Vitaly Petrov, 24th: It was a very disappointing session for me today. On my out-lap on slick tyres, I went on the kerb at the exit of Turn 9 and lost control of the car because of the standing water. I wasn’t able to get started again, so that was the end of my session. It was a big shame because the car has been very good this weekend, and I was aiming for a place in the top 10. But now this has happened, all I can do is focus on tomorrow and stay positive.
The F-duct is working very well, so we are quick on the straights and will be able to overtake. Plus the weather forecast is uncertain, and we know that when it is wet, everything is possible.
Eric Boullier, team principal: Qualifying third with Robert is a great result, especially at a track like Spa. The race team did a really good job, although we had a fuel pick-up problem, which cost Robert the chance to do a second run in Q3. Unfortunately it was a dramatic start to the session for us with Vitaly making a mistake on the kerb out of turn nine, which is really a shame. Hopefully he can come through the field in the race tomorrow.
We’ve been running the f-duct this weekend and overall we are happy with how it is working, which is thanks to the great job done by the team at Enstone and here at the track. This development has drastically improved our performance, which looks promising for the end of the season.
Alan Permane, chief race engineer: Third is a fantastic result for Robert and just goes to show the performance we have put on the car, not only since the last race, but all season, is really paying off. It obviously wasn’t a great session for Vitaly, spinning off on his out-lap, but with the pace of the car we have this weekend, I’m sure he can still have a good race from the back of the grid.
With Robert we are where we are on merit, and we will be racing to finish on the podium. The weather has been changeable all weekend and I expect more of the same tomorrow. I’d prefer a dry race, but we’ve been quick in the wet and the dry so either way won’t worry us too much.