Kamui Kobayashi took his and Sauber's first point of the year in the Turkish Grand Prix on Sunday at Istanbul Park.
It was a much needed boost for the former BMW-owned outfit that has struggled to date this season. Indeed prior to this weekend, the Swiss-based squad had only managed to notch up two finishes, with Kobayashi 12th in Spain and Pedro de la Rosa
12th in Australia.
Yet this time out, not only did Kobayashi come home in tenth, but Pedro de la Rosa
also got to the chequered flag and was eleventh in the sister car.
“I am very happy that we finished the race with both cars and got the first point,” Kobayashi reflected. “I had a good start, although I was on the dirty side of the track, and the pace of the car in the beginning was good. Our race strategy was not easy. The car was better on the harder tyre compound, therefore we did a very short first stint on the softer ones.
“I pitted after ten laps and drove the rest of the race with the same set of tyres. In the end I could see from the car the canvas on the front right tyre. Therefore I started to be very careful, especially in turn 8, and that's also the reason why I didn't defend any harder against Adrian Sutil.”
de la Rosa meanwhile was also pleased for the team, although he did point out he would have attacked more in the final phase of the race, had it not been his team-mate directly in front of him.
“With the high fuel level I had a lot of understeer in the beginning of the race, so I paced myself waiting for my chances to come later in the race,” the former McLaren
tester explained. “The lighter the car became the better the balance was. The front end came back and I had no problems with the tyres. Certainly I would have been fighting at the end if it hadn't been my team-mate in front of me.
“Our team needed desperately to bring both cars home and score this point. You have to be careful taking risks and this was not the time to attack and risk losing everything. It is better this point stays with us rather than going somewhere else. We finished this race being competitive and this is very good.”
Team boss Peter Sauber concluded: “Looking at the whole weekend it's clear we were able to confirm the upward trend which we saw in Barcelona. Of course we were lucky in the race, but we finished with both cars and finally scored a well deserved championship point.”
Sauber technical director, James Key echoed those thoughts: “I'm very pleased we scored a point at this event. It was also good that we had a two car finish. It was fairly eventful in many ways, because, to begin with, it was a case of making sure we were matching the top ten pace, which Kamui did superbly well. He stayed very close behind Fernando Alonso. Towards the end Kamui's tyres went off quite badly at the front, and he lost quite a lot of lap time, which allowed Pedro and some other cars to catch him up. But the fact is both came home in tenth and 11th. I think this is deserved by everyone and we should be very pleased with this result.”