BARCELONA, Spain -- Robert Kubica was unable to properly enjoy his return to an official Formula One session due to the poor balance of his Williams car on Friday.
Williams' reserve driver replaced Sergey Sirotkin for the opening practice of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend. The Pole has completed a handful of test appearances since his return to the cockpit for Renault last year at the post-Hungarian GP tests, but this was his first participation in a grand prix weekend since the 2011 rallying accident which prematurely ended one of the championship's most promising careers.
Friday's two sessions featured an unusually high amount of driver errors on the newly-relayed Circuit de Catalunya circuit, but Kubica also struggled to get on top of his car in the 90-minute window.
When asked how the emotions were at his return to a race weekend, he said: "It felt reasonably the same as all the other times," Kubica said. "I feel I have less emotions which is good. It means it is becoming more natural after a long time, I've been out of the sport.
"In the end, it's difficult to say it was enjoyable because our car balance was very bad and it was very difficult to drive so it was difficult to enjoy. But I'm satisfied with the session, and how I react to difficult conditions and difficult balance. It sounds strange that you can be happy about P19, but actually I'm happy."
Williams has struggled for outright pace this season and Kubica was braced for a challenging session and the sort of problems he eventually encountered.
"Same as three months ago! I'm not the right person to go too much into the details. We know exactly what is our weakest part of the car.
"What is good, we started a project which should help us to understand better, improve it and hopefully solve it completely. It's not a question of one day or one month, probably it's even more. So we have to be patient. Miracles will not happen, we will have better tracks, for example Baku.
"Coming to Barcelona, I was expecting to be in a difficult situation. FP1 was even more difficult than expected. We will try to help our main drivers with the balance of the car, to make it easier for them to drive. Performance is a different story. We have to fix our many issues, in order to think about performance and trying to attract the maximum from what we have."