Jarno Trulli had a mixed time in his first season at the Renault team.
The Italian consolidated his reputation as one of Formula One’s fastest qualifiers by annihilating team-mate Jenson Button on Saturday afternoons.
But his race performances were far less convincing – at least until the end of the season.
Too often in the first three-quarters of the season, Trulli seemed to settle into rather too slow a pace during a race and spend most of the afternoon with a queue of cars behind him.
This did nothing to rid the likeable Italian of his reputation as a man who lacks commitment in races.
To back up these views, Button would often be at least a match for Trulli on Sunday afternoons.
Trulli’s team, though, were quick to defend him, saying that he was just taking his time settling into the team and would soon replicate his qualifying pace when it really mattered.
There were signs towards the end of the season that that was the case.
Trulli put in two excellent performances at Spa and Monza, making Button look very ordinary indeed.
But he will have to keep up that form in 2003 if he is going to rid himself of a reputation that Trulli himself believes is unfair.