Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa was a 'very happy man' following qualifying for the F1 2010 British Grand Prix on Saturday at Silverstone.

The Spaniard, who has returned to action this season, having been a McLaren test driver from 2003-2009, has yet to score this year, but he has put himself in a good position to break his duck after getting into the top-ten shoot-out for the first time.

He will now line-up ninth on the grid, his best lap in Q3 a 1 minute 31.274 seconds, which was 0.156 seconds up on fellow old timer and F1 returnee, Michael Schumacher.

"I am a very happy man today," said de la Rosa. "It was not only my best qualifying this year, but also the best Saturday because in free practice this morning my car was very good. We learned a lot during Friday's practice sessions and made a lot of changes, aerodynamically as well as mechanically. Now my car is very consistent.

"Ahead of the weekend we thought we would be quite good here because of the high speed corners, and it has turned out we are. It is good to match expectations. The new parts we took to Valencia two weeks ago worked and the small steps we have for Silverstone are an improvement too."

Team-mate Kamui Kobayashi meanwhile also did well in qualifying and while he didn't make it into the shoot-out, he did secure P12, his fourth best grid position of the year.

"The overall performance of the car has definitely improved," Kobayashi said. "But today I found it extremely difficult to put a good lap together. I got it right in one corner, but wrong in the next.

"Sometimes the grip was there, sometimes it wasn't. I struggled from a lack of consistency. The race is a different story and from 12th on the grid there is certainly a good chance to score points."

Sauber technical director, James Key agrees that points are a definite possibility: "We had anticipated this track would suit our car better than some others, but we needed to work a lot after we arrived here," he added.

"The engineers did an excellent job to get the car's balance right. In the morning session you could see we had made a good step forward, so our target was to get to Q3. It was a brilliant drive from Pedro. He put in a superb lap for his best qualifying result so far this season. Kamui also did very well coming so close to Q3, and he just missed it by a tenth of a second.

"We will now concentrate on the race tomorrow and hope to score some more points."


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