Robert Kubica always heads to Canada with special memories, given its where he took his one, and so far only, race win in 2008.

… and for BMW-Sauber, who he raced with from 2006 to 2009, until the Global Financial Crisis forced the German manufacturer to pull out of F1.

But despite making arguably one of sport’s greatest comebacks, the Pole returning to F1 after more than eight years away from the grid following his horrific Ronde di Andora rally crash in 2011… 

Kubica’s Montreal return is bittersweet, given he’s currently in the slowest car on the grid. And by some margin, with the pair qualifying on average between four and five seconds off pole position.

Monaco was damage limitation for the team, the FW42 lacking downforce and grip. Just what you need around the 3.37 kilometre circuit.

Kubica finishing 18th, three places behind his teammate George Russell, after he was tapped into a spin by Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi.

“It was quite a long Grand Prix to manage the tyres and it was an unlucky race for me, but that’s just Monaco,” he said.

Giant strides are now what the team needs to close the gap to the back of the field, and start scoring points. Something it has always done before.

But, the team hasn’t given up, with deputy team principal Claire Williams stating a major upgrade is coming mid-season.

And it can’t come soon enough, with Kubica’s stock in the sport dropping. Teammate, George Russell, outqualifying and outracing him at all rounds despite the Pole convinced their cars weren’t the same until Spain, where the pair swapped chassis.

Kubica, though, knows a lot of this is out of his hands.

“Definitely car performance will have a big influence on how things will be going, which is always like this. There’s only one golden rule in F1, the stopwatch. The stopwatch never lies! But definitely I think Williams is trying to improve things, and to learn from the past.”

In the meantime, the charismatic Pole just has to enjoy his F1 return for what it really is. An incredible achievement.

… with a chance to move Williams forward, rather than further back, the real prize in these dark times for the British team.