Kamui Kobayashi has labelled Lewis Hamilton's move that resulted in the pair colliding in last Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps as 'stupid', caustically quipping that 'maybe I have to go into the gravel for him...'
Whilst Hamilton and his heavily-damaged McLaren-Mercedes were eliminated on the spot following the coming-together as the two drivers duelled over fourth place on the run down to Les Combes on lap 14, Kobayashi was able to continue – but mistakenly failing to pit immediately under the subsequent safety car period cost the Sauber ace dear as he slumped to a lowly twelfth at the chequered flag, more than 14 seconds outside of the points.
The British star was quick in the aftermath of the grand prix to point the finger at his rival – although, in the cold light of day, he later revised his opinion [see separate story – click here
] – and Kobayashi is in no doubt about who was the guilty party, insistent that he did nothing wrong.
“I knew I could not fight because he was much quicker than me,” the 24-year-old is quoted as having said by SPEED.com
. “He overtook me. I don't know if he was using the rear wing; I was just using KERS. We have very low downforce, [which is] why I caught him up.
“Just at the end of the straight I was staying left, and he was in the middle of the track. He came back and we just made contact. If you see the replay, I was following the white line always; I didn't change my line at all, so I don't know what I need to do – maybe I have to go into the gravel for him? That's stupid, you know. He had to stay in the middle, not come back [towards me].
“Definitely I was not trying to overtake him, just staying on my line, doing my race. It's a little bit [of a] difficult situation, because he's fighting for the championship. I am doing a different race!”
“Of course I expected to score some points,” he added. “My start was good and I had a couple of nice fights. It was hard to survive with the soft tyres, though, and I was under pressure from Vitaly Petrov, and when I pitted on the second lap behind the safety car I lost an awful lot of positions. The long stint on the medium tyres in the end worked well, but then I was too far away from the points.”
Indeed, following a bright start for both cars, it ultimately turned into a fruitless day for Sauber in the Ardennes, with Kobayashi's team-mate Sergio Pérez coming unstuck following a collision with Sébastien Buemi, leading to team principal Peter Sauber ruing 'a race of missed opportunities' after an encouraging qualifying session and joking that 'except for the weather, everything was against us'.
“I am very disappointed,” confessed Pérez. “I had a good start and beginning to the race. The car was very good and we should have scored points. On lap five I was in seventh, when Sébastien Buemi changed his line in front of me under braking; I tried to avoid hitting him but couldn't as I had lost downforce.