Sauber F1 Team driver Kamui Kobayashi has made it into the top ten qualifying at his home race in Suzuka. He qualified tenth, but could probably start further up on the grid. In Q1 he was fastest. Kobayashi also benefitted from the new aero package on the Sauber C30, his teammate, Sergio Perez, was unlucky because a hydraulic problem prevented the Mexican from doing a timed lap in Q2. He will be starting 17th.
I am really happy we made it into the top ten qualifying in Suzuka. I very much enjoy seeing all the fans here. In free practice we struggled quite a lot with the balance of the car, but the set up changes we made for qualifying worked out well. I think from the pace of the car you can see now that the new aero package is starting to work. My laps in Q1 and Q2 were good, and I can’t complain. We still have some good tyres left for the race tomorrow, and the race is what counts. I want to score points in front of this crowd.
As you can see from Kamui’s result the car is quite competitive, and I was optimistic t I would also make it to Q3. But then on my last lap in Q1 in sector two I suddenly had a hydraulic problem, I lost everything, starting with the power steering. Therefore I could not go out in Q2, which is obviously disappointing. The mechanics worked very hard and tried to fix it, but we have to do some further investigations and I’m sure we will be alright for the race. For me the weekend isn’t that easy because I also have a cold. However, looking at it positively – I have plenty of good tyres for tomorrow’s race.
Peter Sauber, Team Principal
This qualifying had an upside and a downside. Kamui drove very well and made it into Q3 in his home Grand Prix. Congratulations for a great performance. This also shows that our aero package is working as expected. This cannot be taken for granted without testing these parts beforehand on a race track. I’m very sorry for Sergio, who also drove very strongly all weekend despite suffering from a cold, but he was stopped by a hydraulic problem. I’m sure he would have had a good chance to also make it into Q3.
James Key, Technical Director
This morning we carried on with the new parts we brought here and eventually came to some reasonable solutions about what we needed to do for qualifying. Both drivers were quite happy after FP3, although Kamui still had a few issues with some of the tighter corners. In qualifying Kamui did a fantastic job to make it into Q3. He drove a good lap and showed that the car is working as we expected. We hope to have an equally strong race tomorrow. For Sergio it was a great shame. He too had a good chance to make it into the top ten, but unfortunately we had a hydraulic problem on the car which the guys worked very hard to fix quickly, but we decided in the end not to send him out so as not to risk any further issues. We will look into this tonight.