After the first Grand Prix of 2006 I genuinely thought we had a four-way team battle for the world championship on our hands.
Yes, the race in Bahrain was all about an Alonso versus Schuey duel, a strategy game between Renault and Ferrari. But only qualifying fragility had thwarted Kimi Raikkonen's McLaren from making it a three-way fight, while Jenson Button's Honda looked promising in fourth.
But the optimism soon turned to despondency. A few more races in, the F1 season had provided some thrills and intrigue, but it was no classic. Alonso and Renault were consistently quick and I feared it was going to be a long summer.
A couple of classic Schuey/Ferrari performances at Imola and the Nurburgring revived hopes that we had a fight on our hands, but a string of four Alonso wins snuffed that out.