Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi took fifth in the F1 2011 Monaco Grand Prix today, a great result for the Swiss-based outfit, especially after Sergio Perez was sidelined following his violent crash on Saturday in Q3.
Kobayashi, who started twelfth, used a one-stop strategy to great effect and while he was demoted a place on the final lap, when he was passed by Mark Webber, the Japanese driver was still pleased with P5 – his best F1 result to date.
“I am very happy. I was struggling a lot in qualifying, but the team did a great job with the pit stop strategy today,” he reflected.
“The call for the tyre change came at a perfect time. It was no problem to go for such a long stint with the super soft tyres, and I think they would have lasted even longer.
“After the start I had problems with traffic, but then one after the other they stopped and it became better for me. After my one and only pit stop I was stuck behind Adrian Sutil, and at the same time I had to defend against Mark Webber. In this situation it was a bit difficult to manage the tyres. Without the restart I obviously could have finished fourth.
“But when Mark was so close behind me on the final laps there was nothing I could do to defend that place. However, I think fifth is a great achievement at the end of what was a difficult weekend.”
Team boss Peter Sauber and technical director James Key were similarly happy given what had gone on over the last 48 hours.
“Once more Kamui drove a fantastic race, managing the tyres very well, and the car was strong too. This is a result he has deserved for a long time,” Sauber said. “My compliments to Kamui, and also a big thank you to the whole team who prepared the car perfectly. I now hope we can start in Montreal with our regular driver pairing.”
“As always in Monaco, a very eventful race for all concerned,” Key continued. “We entered just one car for Kamui with Sergio not racing. Our hopes really relied on Kamui. We opted to go for a one stop strategy, starting on the new soft tyres, and we had a new set of super soft for the second stint.
“Fundamentally Kamui drove a good race. It's great to bring points home in what has been a very mixed weekend, both in terms of performance and emotion with Checo's crash. We can dedicate these points to him as a team and hope that we can get back to normal in Montreal.”