Kamui Kobayashi was looking forward to his home Grand Prix, especially after being boosted up to seventh place on the grid in the revised grid positions following qualifying.
Put a poor start off the Suzuka grid meant he lost all those places and more within seconds of the start in Japan.
"At the start when I released the clutch the car suddenly was in anti-stall mode, and that was why I lost five positions straight away," he said. The poor start then compromised the race strategy that the team had set for him.
"Things went wrong at the start. He lost a lot of positions, and his aggressive strategy didn't work as a result of that," said Peter Sauber.
It was a great shame for Kamui," agreed technical director James Key. "We had him on an aggressive strategy with the soft tyres to begin with, but he ended up in traffic, and also the safety car came out at the wrong time for him. He did a great job to hang on to his tyres at the end, but the start compromised him. We have to look at why he had that problem."
"I did my second stop when the safety car was out," added Kobayashi, who finished in 13th position. "We changed from the soft to the medium compound and with those tyres I then had to go to the end of the race - 29 laps. In the end they were just so bad that I couldn't defend my position anymore."
His team mate Sergio Perez had better fortunes despite racing with a bad cold.
"I pushed very hard, and gave my maximum today," said an exhausted Mexican. "Physically it was very hard for me because I am suffering from flu, so I'm totally happy that I brought the car home in a position good enough to score points."
"Sergio drove a brilliant race," agreed Peter Sauber. "Starting from 17th and finishing eighth says it all. He was aggressive and consistent at the same time. His result also proves that we made a clear step forward with our car, which is important for the upcoming races."
"Sergio drove a really strong race, and his pace was very good. His strategy was the opposite to Kamui's, and it seems that this was the right way to go," added James Key.