Despite topping the morning session at the start of the second Formula 1 pre-season test, Robert Kubica says he takes little satisfaction from the headlines as he completes his stint testing for Alfa Romeo.

The Polish driver has taken a step back in F1 after leaving Williams to become test driver at Alfa Romeo for 2020, dovetailing his efforts with a rookie season in DTM with BMW, but was given the duty of debuting the C39 at both pre-season tests.

Kubica ended the opening morning of the second test fastest with a 1m 16.942s before handing over to Kimi Raikkonen this afternoon. But the feat meant little to the Polish driver as he looked to build up the speed of the new Alfa Romeo F1 car.

“It doesn’t really matter a lot, what matters is the feeling in the car,” Kubica said. “When you lap two or three seconds faster than what you were doing until last week, the feeling in the car, is reflecting how good everything in the car is, how the car is performing.

“The fact is last year you could find me first from the bottom of the time sheets, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is the feeling, we had quite a good day, with quite a few interesting things we can now go through, comparing the data with my feeling.

“I think it will be a pretty clear outcome and, all in all, it’s never easy the morning session in Day 1, with the track lacking grip, but today the feeling was quite good.

“But already last week, when I drove for the first half day, the feeling was probably even better, because I was trying different things and I had to speed up in order to prepare and go through things for Australia.

“Normally you are testing few things only once, because it’s important to go through all the things you have and keep the ones that work better. There are some that will need more time to improve before we go to Australia.”

Kubica also believes producing 1m 17s laps around Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in the current generation of F1 cars is a different kind of difficult to 1m 19s or 1m 20s but not necessarily harder to achieve given the right downforce levels generated from the car.

“Sometimes people think the the faster you go the more difficult it gets, but I would argue that doing 1m17s this year is not more difficult than doing 1m19s or 1m20s last year,” he explained.

“It’s a bit of a different difficulty but the reality is that already last week’s first morning, in the first lap, I had more problem adjusting my brain to the speed.

“I knew the feeling of lapping here but now I was having to deal with a lot more downforce that would allow me to go faster but my brain was telling “until now this was not possible”, so it took a few laps to unlock the real feeling.

“There’s one big friend in the paddock, there are not many friends, because this sport is quite tough, but that friend is downforce. Once you have it, it’s a big mate and it’s helping a lot.”