x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Kubica blames sliding rear of car for poor qualifying

The Pole failed to make the final part of qualifying for the first time in 2010 in his Renault.

ABU DHABI // Robert Kubica took the positives out of his worst qualifying display of the season as he believed he now had a strategy advantage for today's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Pole failed to make the final part of qualifying for the first time in 2010 as he could only get a lap time of 1min 40.780secs out of his Renault as he finished 11th.

However, under Formula One rules the top 10 drivers must commit to using the tyres they qualified on.

The rest of the grid can choose between the softer Option tyre or the harder Prime compound.

With the frontrunners going for the Option tyre, which is expected to wear quickly given the high level of tyre degradation from the Yas Marina Circuit, Kubica, who is eighth in the drivers' championship with 126 points, is likely to go for the harder tyre and hope to make up places early on as drivers ahead have to pit for new rubber.

"It's disappointing to miss out on the top ten, but it's also the first time this year that I have had a free tyre choice for Sunday," he said, "and we will have to see if we can make this into an advantage for tomorrow."

Of the reasons for his lack of pace, which saw him out-qualified by teammate Vitaly Petrov, who starts 10th, he added: "I have been struggling with the car since yesterday and we simply didn't manage to get on top of the issues, especially for qualifying.

"The rear of the car was sliding a lot this evening, so it was hard to get on the power early enough to set a good lap time."

gcaygill@thenational.ae