12 May 2012
Fast Sauber cars rattle the big teams
Sauber were among the surprise success of a topsy-turvy qualifying in Spain, with both cars surging into the final round of qualifying - although there was disappointment for Kamui Kobayashi.
Sauber was celebrating getting both cars through to Q3 with flying colours, when it suddenly became apparent that one of their drivers wouldn't be turning a wheel in the remaining session after all.
"After the chequered flag at the end of Q2, I was told on the radio that I had to stop the car because of an hydraulic problem," revealed an understandably disappointed Kamui Kobayashi after finishing in ninth place in the middle round of qualifying, earning him a position in the pole shootout top ten.
"It's a shame we had an hydraulic leak on Kamui's car," said Sauber's head of track engineering, Giampaolo Dall'Ara. "We decided that he should stop the car immediately in order not to do more damage."
"We are sorry for Kamui who had to stop after Q2 due to an hydraulic leak," agreed Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn. "But I'm very optimistic for the race," she added, pointing out that he would still start from the fifth row of the grid in tenth place for Sunday afternoon's race.
Meanwhile, Sergio Perez was on a high after making it through to Q3 and then going on to set the sixth fastest time of the session - seemingly out of nowhere, after the young Mexican had seemingly struggled through the earlier practice sessions on the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
"After the free practice sessions hadn't been so easy for me, in qualifying the car really felt good," he said. "I think the result is what we were hoping for and perhaps a little bit better than expected - the competition is so close that a tenth of a second can really make a big difference, and you always think you could go a bit faster
"In this regard it is almost frustrating having finished sixth, because a slightly better position was within reach!" he continued. "I think we can have a strong race performance. A lot will be down to tyre degradation tomorrow, which is quite high here. I want to do a perfect race and get the maximum possible points, or even come home with a nice surprise."
"We are very happy with this result," said a delighted Kaltenborn. "We hoped we would be able to get both cars into Q3, and it's good to see that this worked out. P6 is a great result for Sergio."
"From an engineering point of view it was very positive that the good results from the Mugello test were confirmed on this track," added Dall'Ara. "Both drivers did a very good job, driving fast and consistent.
"Now the important part comes tomorrow - and I'm confident we can achieve a very good result in the race."
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