Williams driver Robert Kubica says he has “a lot of things to discover” in Formula 1 as he heads into what he is expecting to be an “emotional” Australian Grand Prix. 

The Pole has completed a remarkable comeback from severe injuries suffered in a horrific rally crash in the 2011 off-season to return to the F1 grid for the first time in over eight years. 

Kubica, who will make his first grand prix start in Melbourne since the 2010 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, said he felt only “20 percent” prepared for his full-time F1 return given how much the sport has changed since his last race outing. 

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“It will be a very emotional grand prix,” Kubica said. “It is the second debut for me after being away from the sport for many years. 

“My last Formula 1 race was in Abu Dhabi 2010, so I am looking forward to going to Australia with a few things to cover and learn. 

“I hope to enjoy the weekend and that everything will run smoothly without any big issues so I can concentrate on my driving and discover a new Formula 1. 

“It is one thing to drive a Formula 1 car, and it is another thing to actually race it. Over the years, I think the approach to races has changed, so I have a lot of things to discover but I am looking forward to it.”

Williams endured a disrupted winter after car delays with its FW42 forced the team to miss the opening two-and-a-half days of pre-season testing in Barcelona, before recovering well to log a decent mileage hall during the remainder of the test. 

Reigning Formula 2 champion George Russell, who has graduated to contest his rookie campaign alongside Kubica, said lining up on the grid for the first time in F1 machinery will be a “surreal moment”. 

“I am extremely excited for Melbourne,” the Briton explained. It will be my first race in Formula 1 and it is a dream come true. 

“It will be a very proud and extremely surreal moment for me standing on the starting grid with everybody preparing for the race, and I am really looking forward to the whole experience. 

“I am going to make sure that I enjoy it, won’t take it for granted and make the most of it. 

“I have never been to Australia before, so I am going out there earlier to get used to the weather, the time difference and see the city a little bit before starting work properly on the Tuesday before the race. 

“All in all I am really looking forward to the whole experience.” 

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