Marcus Ericsson was impressed with Sauber's ability to progress in the latter part of the 2017 season, after the summer break left the team struggling for performance.
As the only driver who failed to score a championship point in 2017, Ericsson was the odd man out this year.
The Swede knew from the outset that his team and himself would likely have their work cut out for them this year as its new-spec C36 was powered by a year-old Ferrari engine.
"[When] I heard the news Sauber was going to use the old PU, we knew it was not going to be good," remembers Ericsson.
"Everyone could see what happened with Toro Rosso [in 2016].
"You still have to try and look at it in a more positive way and say ‘we’ll focus more on the chassis side’ and we did, but for sure it’s a big handicap.
"That’s why also I think with that in mind I’ve been quite impressed with the team and at the factory with the way we’ve been able to keep pushing and not give up."
Looking back a few months, Ericsson recalls the team's gloomy prospects after Formula 1's summer break, when its car was massively off the pace.
Rather than throwing in the towel however, and completely switching its focus to its 2018 charger, Sauber put its head down and achieved meaningful progress, although it was still too little, too late for the Swiss outfit in its quest for championship points.
"After the summer break it looked a disaster really, we were so far off the next car, over a second off per lap, and it was looking really, really bad.
"It would have been easy to give up completely and just think about next year for the team but they still kept pushing, in the factory they kept developing and bringing new stuff to the track.
"The last three or four weekends we were actually in the mix again and out-qualified people and out-raced people fair and square.
"That’s a big thing for the team and shows the team has a lot of quality both on track but also at the factory."