Kubica enjoyed 2011 opener on TV - manager

By on Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mar.29 (GMM) Robert Kubica watched the entire Australian grand prix from his Italian hospital room, and afterwards sent a text message to congratulate teammate Vitaly Petrov for securing the first podium of his career.

"Robert followed the race like a child follows his favourite Disney cartoon," manager Daniele Morelli, who watched the race with Kubica along with the Pole's girlfriend Edyta, told La Stampa newspaper.

"In the end he said the car showed performance beyond expectations, even though he had realised from the Barcelona test that it could be competitive.

"He wanted to congratulate Petrov for a superb performance in both qualifying and the race," said Morelli.

It is believed Kubica's text message to Petrov was via team boss Eric Boullier.

Morelli also said Kubica was "impressed and moved" by the many tributes and best wishes from within the paddock. "He feels he has many friends," he added.

Renault is still assessing whether it will be Russian Petrov or Nick Heidfeld who will best stand in for Kubica as the clear team leader.

Asked by the BBC if he can fulfil the role, Petrov said after his Melbourne podium: "I don't need to answer anything. You can see."

But it is true that German veteran Heidfeld's poor race performance was exacerbated by a severely damaged sidepod in Australia.

Team boss Eric Boullier, however, said Petrov has upped his game since 2010.

"He was nowhere a year ago, not zero, but F1 is a challenge. He is now a guy who clearly has his place in F1," he is quoted by L'Equipe.

"He made some good progress but knowing the pace of Robert, whether he could have been better or worse, I don't want to think of it," added Boullier.

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