Daniil Kvyat has every reason for believing he could be Formula One’s forgotten man.
Twelve months ago, he arrived in Melbourne filled with hope as Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull team-mate.
Expectations were high.
A few fateful weeks later, his world was turned upside down.
He was ousted, and replaced by Dutch teenager Max Verstappen, after he triggered an opening lap smash-up at his home Russian Grand Prix that wrecked Ricciardo’s hopes and sent Ferrari’s German Sebastian Vettel into a ranting rage.
Almost immediately, Russian racer Kvyat was sent packing back to junior team Toro Rosso. He got the news of his dumping via an abrupt phone call to his Moscow apartment, while watching TV.
It was tough and it took him time to recover his confidence alongside Spaniard Carlos Sainz, another young flyer earning his wings.
But Verstappen took off when he won on his Red Bull debut in the Spanish Grand Prix to become the youngest winner in F1® history.
Kvyat was bruised, but unbowed.
And he stayed faithful to his dreams – as he explained when he talked to reporters at the St Kilda Stokehouse restaurant on Wednesday.
“I have left all that behind me,” he said. “I am focusing on this year and this event now.
“What happened last year has been locked away in my personal safe and that’s it.. I am here again and I am ready to fight with the proper competitive edge that I always had.’
“I think life only gives you one chance and that you just need to use any opportunity you have been given.
“Every year is a new opportunity and 2017 is a new one and I’m going to try to do my best.”
He acknowledged that Toro Rosso would struggle to break into the top three teams, but were fighting instead to be the best of the rest.
“That’s our ambition, but let’s see what happens before we can say for sure,” he said.