Kamui Kobayashi proved the star attraction in qualifying at Suzuka in Japan, delighting the crowd with a top ten position on the grid for the Grand Prix of Japan on Sunday afternoon.
"I am really happy we made it into the top ten qualifying in Suzuka," he said. "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."
The home support meant a lot to him, and as a result he went out for a touring lap in Q3 to give the crowds something to cheer about, despite not going on to set a proper flying lap time during the final round of qualifying.
"We still have some good tyres left for the race tomorrow, and the race is what counts," he explained. "I want to score points in front of this crowd."
His team mate Sergio Perez was not so lucky. After making it through Q1, he was then sidelined in Q2 and unable to put in any lap time at all because of hydraulic problems.
"On my last lap in Q1 in sector two I suddenly had a hydraulic problem, I lost everything, starting with the power steering," he explained. "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 ... Looking at it positively, I have plenty of good tyres for tomorrow's race!"
Perez was also visibly under the weather on Saturday. "For me the weekend isn't that easy because I also have a cold.
"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," said team boss Peter Sauber. "I'm sure he would have had a good chance to also make it into Q3."
"Kamui did a fantastic job to make it into Q3," said Sauber's technical director James Kay. "He drove a good lap and showed that the car is working as we expected. We hope to have an equally strong race tomorrow."