Robert Kubica completed 100 laps – nearly two Abu Dhabi race distances – on his first day of running in Williams’ 2017 car at the post-season tyre test.
In what is being viewed as Williams’ final check on whether the Pole is physically able to return to F1, Kubica clocked a century of laps as he drove the FW40 for the first time.
Kubica’s recorded a best time of 1:41.296 which placed him only ninth in the timesheet, but set on the soft tyre. Set in similarly hot day-time conditions, it was slightly faster than Williams race driver Lance Stroll’s quickest lap in Practice One of the Abu Dhabi GP last Friday, although car and fuel settings are unknown.
“Over 500km under his belt in the FW40 and that’s a job well done for Robert on day one of the #AbuDhabiTest,” tweeted Williams.
Daniel Ricciardo was second for Red Bull ahead of world champion Lewis Hamilton and Haas’ Romain Grosjean.
Every driver than Kubica set his fastest time on the new-for-2018 hypersoft compound.
The 2018 hypersoft tyre is three steps softer than the 2018 soft tyre and two steps softer than 2017’s fastest ultrasoft tyre.
Kubica will be back in the FW40 on Wednesday afternoon to close the test after Sergey Sirotkin makes his own Williams debut on the final morning.
It is believed Kubica is poised to partner Stroll in 2018 so long as he is able to cope with the physical demands and rigours of driving the FW40 in this week’s outing.
Fernando Alonso completed 115 laps on his final day in a Honda-powered McLaren and was sixth fastest, although his running was interrupted by a spin into the barriers during the morning.
Abu Dhabi tyre test timesheet: Day One Driver Team Time 1. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:37.768 2. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:38.066 3. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:38.551 4. Romain Grosjean Haas 1:39.270 5. Lance Stroll Williams 1:39.580 6. Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:39.762 7. Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1:39.803 8. Nikita Mazepin Force India 1:39.959 9. Robert Kubica Williams 1:41.296 10. Sean Gelael Toro Rosso 1:41.428 11. Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:41.681 12. Oliver Turvey McLaren 1:41.914
*All times set on hypersoft tyre bar Kubica on softs