"He hardly made an error worthy of the name while maximising an ordinary car everywhere, and transcending its level at Monaco, Spa and Suzuka. Renault knows where its car stacks up against the others and makes no secret of the fact that Robert has invariably flattered it."
Robert Kubica enjoyed lavish praise at the end of his last Formula 1 campaign. He'd scored just three podiums, and finished eighth in the drivers' championship, but still placed second in Autosport's top 10 drivers of the season. There was no doubt in anyone's mind, least of all Autosport's Grand Prix Editor at the time, Mark Hughes, author of the extract above, that this was a driver who was ready and capable of fighting for the world championship.
Kubica finally gets the chance to follow up his 2010 season this year. But it's coming eight years later than it should have, in very different circumstances, and with none of the certainty from before.