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Formula 1

How Kubica almost pulled off the ‘move of the weekend’ at Monza

by Edd Straw
3 min read

Alfa Romeo Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica claims he almost pulled off the passing “move of the weekend” during Saturday’s Italian Grand Prix sprint race.

Monza was Kubica second and final outing for Alfa Romeo standing in for Kimi Raikkonen after the Finn’s positive COVID-19 test. But despite a poor start that dropped him to 20th and last, his audacious move at the second chicane briefly propelled him to 16th before it was brought to an end by contact with Yuki Tsunoda.

Sep 13 : Italian Grand Prix review

Speaking after Sunday’s Grand Prix, in which he finished 13th, Kubica admitted overtaking was difficult but talked up his move on the first lap of the sprint race.

Kubica mentioned that “I placed myself well, which is not a new thing” of the start of the grand prix, which is a reference to the fact he tended to have strong starts even during his difficult 2019 season with Williams, before looking back to the sprint.

“If we didn’t touch with Tsunoda, I think it would be the move of the weekend,” said Kubica.

“I didn’t see a lot of moves happen around today’s race, but definitely yesterday [sprint race] braking into the second chicane was quite brave.

“But in the end, it worked well, apart from that on the exit we touched with Yuki.

“And today [Sunday] was more difficult because I had hard tyres. All the other people apart from Bottas had softer tyres.”

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Italian Grand Prix Sprint Day Monza, Italy

Kubica made an error at the start of the sprint and dropped from 19th to 20th behind the Haas of Nikita Mazepin at the start. But he regained the position through the first chicane.

He emerged from Turn 2 just behind Williams driver George Russell. Russell was on the left of the circuit approaching Turn 2 and looking to draw alongside Mick Schumacher.

The Haas driver had covered off Russell’s attack and both braked relatively early, but Kubica had a clear run on the outside line and decided to throw caution to the wind.

Kubica hurtled past both and closed on the rear of Tsunoda, jinking to the left approximately 70 metres before the corner to dive up the inside. As Schumacher was still partly alongside him, Kubica’s two moves to the left forced the Haas driver to cut across the grass the entry to the chicane.

Kubica made the first apex and was left space by Tsunoda and was pulling ahead in the second part of the corner. However, he took the second apex while Tsunoda was still partly alongside him, which resulted in him spinning.

He was able to extract himself from the gravel trap and went on to finish 18th in the race.

While Tsunoda was unhappy with the move, calling Kubica an “idiot” over the radio and having to pit for a new nose, and Schumacher wasn’t delighted to be forced off track, it at least showed the 36-year-old was unwilling to take it easy despite his stand-in role.

And if it had come off, he’s right that it likely would have been the overtaking move of the Italian Grand Prix weekend.

Such is the fine line between triumph and disaster in F1.

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