Robert Kubica has described his fourth position on the grid for this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix – scene of his impressive Formula 1 debut two years ago – as one of his finest qualifying performances of the 2008 season to-date.
The BMW-Sauber star – who currently sits ten points off the drivers' world championship lead – had struggled throughout the initial phases of the session, complaining of understeer in his F1.08 and at one point looking like he may even be in danger of missing the Q1 cut.
He pulled it out of the bag when it mattered the most, however, to line up fourth on the grid at the Hungaroring – only just over a tenth of a second shy of a front row slot.
“I am really happy with the result,” the 23-year-old enthused afterwards. “This was certainly one of my best qualifying sessions so far this season. I was not expecting to start from fourth, as the car has been quite difficult to drive over the entire weekend.
“We struggled a bit with the balance, but in the end I was able to make the harder tyre compound work very well and here we are. I am now looking forward to the race.”
Kubica's gritty showing also drew words of praise from both BMW Motorsport Director Dr Mario Theissen and the Munich and Hinwil-based outfit's technical director Willy Rampf, as the squad seeks to protect its second position in the constructors' title chase from a resurgent McLaren-Mercedes.
“It was a very tight battle at the front, with marginal time differences,” acknowledged Theissen. “We expected to see McLaren on the front row. Robert did a very good last lap and secured fourth, which means he will be starting in-between the two Ferraris.”
“Robert's performance was faultless,” agreed Rampf, “and he got the most out of the car. Starting from fourth is an excellent position.”