Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi ended the F1 2011 season on a positive note with ninth place in Brazil but, as the chequered flag fell, he was already looking for improvement in 2012.
It was two point-scoring races in a row after a difficult second half of the year for Kobayashi, perhaps a surprise considering he only qualified 16th fastest around the Interlagos circuit, and Kobayashi was quick to acknowledge the importance of the result in the fight for seventh in the constructor's standings.
“The team did a very good job to recover from a really bad qualifying," he noted, "I had a good start and also a good race pace. It was important for us to finish ahead of Toro Rosso and I'm glad we managed to do that. The strategy was good and the car was as well - many thanks to the guys.”
Nevertheless, this late upturn for Kobayashi didn't completely paper over the cracks of his downturn in form mid-season, and he made it clear that there is much to do over the winter.
“After we have struggled a bit in the second half of the season, we have a lot to work on over the winter," he conceded, "I think it is good that we will have the same team with the same drivers again, but we want to become stronger.”
Kobayashi alluded to the continuation of his partnership with Sergio Perez, and the young Mexican could potentially have scored points but for a mistake in a rookie season characterised by a lack of them.
“The team's main target for today was to make sure we finished the season in seventh, and I am very happy that this was achieved, although I couldn't contribute this time," he said, "My race today wasn't as good as I hoped it would be. The start was fine, but we had opted for wet conditions and the result was that the rear tyres tended to overheat. The car was quite difficult to drive and I'm sorry for the spin at half distance.”
Team principal Peter Sauber commended the efforts of the team, and reflected on a successful second year in the team's return to F1.
“It was an important result today," he admitted, "We were able to move up one position in the constructors' championship compared to last year, which is good for the morale of the team. Kamui drove a fantastic race, making up positions in the early laps and then driving fast and consistently to take two championship points. Thanks to the whole team at the track, in Hinwil and to our partner Ferrari.”
by Philip Barclay