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Kubica enjoys ‘successful’ F1 test with Williams at Silverstone

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Robert Kubica’s push for a full-time return to Formula 1 in 2018 continued with a private test for Williams at Silverstone on Wednesday.

A one-time grand prix winner, Kubica’s F1 career was put on hold after he sustained severe injuries to his right hand and arm in a rally accident ahead of the 2011 season.

Kubica spent a few years rallying before stepping up his bid to return to single-seaters in 2017, enjoying three tests for Renault, including a competitive showing at the collective running following the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Renault opted to sign Carlos Sainz Jr. for 2018 amid lingering questions about Kubica’s capabilities, leading the Pole to admit his chances of returning were “very slight”.

However, an opportunity with Williams has arisen for 2018 as a possible replacement for Felipe Massa, with Kubica confirmed to be testing alongside reserve driver Paul di Resta at the Hungaroring in the coming weeks.

Ahead of this test, Kubica enjoyed a day of running at Silverstone in the 2014-spec Williams FW36 on Wednesday, with the team confirming it was “successful”. No further details were issued.

Kubica, di Resta and Massa are all candidates for a seat alongside 18-year-old Lance Stroll in 2018, but technical boss Paddy Lowe stressed last weekend in Japan they were not the only options.

“All options are under consideration, to be honest. You’ve probably seen a number of names that are floating around that we’re looking at but honestly the range is almost unlimited,” Lowe said.

“We will consider all ideas. We’re not in a super hurry to do so and we’ll just make sure we land the best line-up we can.”

F1 2017 driver review: Lance Stroll

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Team: Williams

Car No.: 18
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Best Finish: P3 (Azerbaijan)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 40
Championship Position: 13th

Lance Stroll’s arrival in Formula 1 at the start of the 2017 was a far from smooth one despite a significant private testing program being undertaken in the months leading up to his grand prix debut.

Even with older hand Felipe Massa at Williams, Stroll looked uneasy behind the wheel of the FW40 car through the opening run of races as he failed to reach the checkered flag in any of his first three starts.

The Canadian was left deflated after his first decent effort in Bahrain was cut short after a clash with Carlos Sainz Jr., calling it his “rock bottom” moment – but things would turn around on home soil.

Stroll produced a stunning fight through the field to take an excellent P9 in Canada, proving his talent seen in Formula 3 the previous year and shushing many of his critics.

Better would follow two weeks later in Baku when Stroll became the youngest rookie in F1 history to score a podium, dodging a crazy race to finish third. It would have been second had he not lost a drag race against Valtteri Bottas to the line.

Stroll’s form then fluctuated greatly. He was sublime on occasion, the best examples being Monza, when he started a remarkable P2 on the grid and ended as the top midfielder in P7, or Mexico where he took a brilliant sixth.

But there were too many weekends he was a little anonymous. Sure, Williams didn’t have the best car this year, but perhaps a little better was expected from Stroll.

2018 will be an even bigger challenge as he looks to the lead the team when a new teammate arrives – and at only 19, it is a lot to handle. Nevertheless, there are positive signs to be found; you just need to look for them a little.

Season High: Taking a shock podium in Baku after dodging chaos in front.

Season Low: A poor opening two races in Australia and China.