Back in January, I wrote a piece about why Robert Kubica would succeed on his return to Formula 1 at Williams, but since then, the hype around his comeback has significantly diminished. While Mercedes have broken records with the best start to an F1 season in the history of the sport at the front, Williams are conversely and depressingly enduring their worst ever campaign at the back. The FW42 had a troubled start to life by missing out on most of pre-season testing in Barcelona, and has continued this poor form by being the only car to not score a point so far in 2019. With that being said, Kubica has still been a disappointment, and here's why the veteran might find him replaced by mid-season.
Performance Relative to Russell
I stated that although I expected Kubica to do well on his F1 return, I also foresaw George Russell giving his more experienced teammate a run for his money over the whole season, especially early on. However, despite Russell being in his rookie season, the Mercedes development driver has outclassed Kubica in the opening five rounds of the campaign. The only true measure of how a driver is performing, is to compare the results against his teammate, because he is the only driver with identical machinery. This is even more the case than usual with Williams this year, as they only currently have themselves to compete against at the moment, such is their deficit to the rest of the field.
Russell has out-qualified Kubica at all of the rounds so far this season and it's been the exact same story during the race. Although Russell has had to overtake his teammate sometimes, (due to grid penalties) it's looked like an easy task to do so, with no sign of team orders. Whatsmore, the gap in qualifying has been 0.7 seconds on average, a yawning chasm by any measure. If a less popular driver such as Lance Stroll had this kind of record, fans would be calling for his head, and rightfully so.