Robert Kubica believes he answered a lot of doubts he had about his ability to compete again in Formula One, but says it is still too soon to address his future after a stellar showing on his official return to testing in Hungary.
The Pole has not raced in F1 since 2010 after suffering severe arm injuries in a rally accident, but has twice tested the 2012 Renault as he builds towards a potential return.
Kubica's first outing in the latest Renault model was a fruitful one, with the 32-year-old racking up 142 laps and producing a best time of one minute and 18.572 seconds – which was just a tenth of a second short of Jolyon Palmer's Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying time – on the ultra-soft tyres to finish the day fourth quickest.
But, while relishing his opportunity, Kubica erred on the side of caution when discussing his next step.
"It was a fantastic feeling for me to be here in the R.S.17 and also it was amazing to see so many fans come to see me out on track, so thank you to all of them," he said.
"It has been an incredible journey to this point, where I have answered many questions to myself. I learnt a lot about the latest generation car, as there are a reasonable amount of differences between it and the Formula 1 cars I have driven in the past.
"The car is certainly wider than before. I was able to work through the team's programme methodically and I think we made good progress.
"Certainly my understanding of the R.S.17 and the 2017 tyres came on a lot. After today, it's too early to say what the next step might be.
"For now, I owe a big thanks to everyone at Renault Sport Formula One Team for making this test happen."
World championship leader Sebastian Vettel was quickest, but his Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was outpaced by British rookie Lando Norris who impressed on his McLaren debut.
The 17-year-old, a star in the European Formula 3 Championship, clocked a fastest time of one minute and 17.384secs and completed 91 laps as McLaren suffered no repeat of the reliability issues that plagued them on the first day of testing.
22 de enero 2018
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