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F1i exclusive: Eric Boullier rates his F1 drivers

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ROBERT KUBICA

“Robert is actually quite close to Romain in terms of braking, though he is not as sensitive. When he first stepped into the car in 2010, he told us: 'The car is not braking, I can’t drive that way'. It was a typical case of an engineering concept that works great on paper but not in real conditions. The engineers had just forgotten that the system left the driver without any proper feel!

“In terms of how he approaches his job as a racing driver, Robert is similar to Fernando. He has the same character and is ready to sacrifice his personal life to be competitive.”

“When talking about Robert, one memory springs to mind: that’s the qualifying session for the 2010 Japanese Grand Prix. Robert went fourth fastest and was even third on the grid after Hamilton had been handed a penalty. That day, he just put in a mesmerising lap and he was fully aware of it: ‘I would not be able to do another lap like that in my life!’ he said as he clambered out of the car. Robert has a supreme natural talent but he remains a very honest, direct and no-nonsense kind of guy, just like Kimi and Fernando.

“In terms of how he approaches his job as a racing driver, Robert is similar to Fernando. He has the same character and is ready to sacrifice his personal life to be competitive. I really like Robert. His accident [a crash in the 2011 Ronde di Andora rally that cut his F1 career short… until a potential future comeback] remains the hardest moment in my career.”