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Ricciardo leads plaudits on Kubica’s F1 return

Mat Coch

Friday 15th March, 2019 - 6:00am

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The FIA Press Conference

Daniel Ricciardo interrupted a Thursday press conference to call for a round of applause to celebrate the Formula 1 return of Robert Kubica.

The two drivers were part of the FIA press conference, where they were joined by Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, and Max Verstappen.

Amid the myriad of questions fired at the five drivers, Ricciardo interrupted to herald the return of Kubica, who will drive for Williams this year.

Kubica was one of the brightest stars in Formula 1 before a rally crash in early 2011 interrupted, and for a time threatened to end, his motor racing career.

Almost a decade on from his last appearance, Ricciardo called for a round of applause for his Polish counterpart.

“I don’t think we all know to the extent of what he’s been through to get back here, so I just think it’s awesome to see him back,” Ricciardo said.

“I’ve known him from when I moved to Europe back in 2007 which feels like a long time but yeah, just a testament to his character.

“I really think it’s awesome for him to be here.”

Speaking earlier in the press conference, Kubica admitted that there were a number of emotions going through his head, but he was trying to focus on the task at hand.

A tough pre-season saw Williams miss the opening three days of testing, while it headed to Australia as the slowest of the 10 teams.

“It has been a long time, a long time away from the sport,” Kubica said.

“Emotions… to be honest there is not really a lot of time to think about them, you are focused on the job, focused on the things to do, try to learn as much as you can about new F1.

“Things have changed quite a lot since I was racing here last time.

“We didn’t have the perfect start to winter testing, so there are a lot of things to be checked.

In a strange happenstance, Kubica last raced in F1 for Renault in 2010, the same team which, despite a number of name changes since, Ricciardo now drives for.

Kubica will officially make his return when opening practice for the Australian Grand Prix gets underway at noon (AEDT) today.

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