Robert Kubica may have fallen some ten points adrift of the top of the Formula 1 World Drivers' Championship standings as BMW-Sauber has slipped off the leading pace in recent weeks, but he is refusing to admit defeat in the chase for the crown with eight races left to run.
The Pole – the first of his countrymen to break into the top flight – made his debut in an unusually rain-afflicted Hungarian Grand Prix two years ago, impressing many by both out-qualifying infinitely more experienced team-mate Nick Heidfeld and with his race pace in the treacherous conditions en route
to eighth spot and a point at the chequered flag, only to subsequently be disqualified when his car was found to be underweight.
He has since built on that promising maiden F1 appearance with considerable aplomb, consistently featuring up at the sharp end of proceedings in 2008 and sealing a composed and extremely popular breakthrough triumph in the Canadian Grand Prix just under two months ago – a result that put him in charge of the title chase for the first time.
Though Kubica's form has dipped in company with that of BMW – the 23-year-old notching up just six points since Montreal compared to 20, 16 and 16 for chief rivals Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa respectively – he is refusing to give up the fight.
“This is like my home grand prix,” AFP
quotes the man from Kraków, regarded by Hamilton as his greatest threat for glory over the years to come, as having said, “because it's the closest to Poland.
“In previous years, I've had big support from [the crowd], so I'm looking forward to a good race, a good atmosphere and some good weather this weekend!
“The last two races have not been lucky for me, especially at Hockenheim. I was running fourth, but the safety car changed it completely; some cars behind jumped to the front and they were on better tyres.
“While there is still a mathematical chance to win, you have to try to give your maximum because things can change quickly. After the first race of the year, Hamilton had ten points and I had zero, but after seven races I was leading. As we know all too well in motor racing, anything can happen!”
In 1999, Heinz-Harald Frentzen displayed similar consistency to remain in contention for the laurels until virtually season's end, despite his Jordan Mugen-Honda rarely proving to be an out-and-out match for the pace-setting Ferraris and McLaren-Mercedes'.