Sauber is hoping that impressive qualifying performances by both Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez will be rewarded by the team's first race win since Peter Sauber bought back the operation from BMW.

"Spa is one of our favourite circuits, I think our car should be good here," said Kobayashi after claiming second place on the grid alongside polesitter Jenson Button for the start of the 2012 F1 Belgian Grand Prix. "We're basically quite strong in the race ... I think we have a really great opportunity."

That optimism was picked up by Sauber's chief executive Monisha Kaltenborn, who said that expectations were high for Sunday, "even going right to the top."

"We have seen the potential and always said, if we could just be further up the grid, we could show so much more," she added. "[Now] we are in that position and it is now up to us to continue that trend [in the race.]"

Sergio Perez will start immediately behind his team mate from fourth place on the second row of the grid alongside Lotus' Kimi R?? 1/2 ikk?? 1/2 nen. "I need a good start and I want to fight the people in front of me," he said. "I know the car will allow me to do that. I am definitely targeting another podium."

Perez has finished on the podium twice so far in 2012, with a second place at Malaysia followed up by a third place in Canada. By comparison, Kobayashi has so far failed to finish higher than fourth place in Germany, but stands an excellent chance of changing that today in Spa after following up topping the timings in the wet Friday sessions with his best-ever qualifying performance in F1 on Saturday.

"My best quali, I think but I'm always focussing on Sunday and not on quali," he said. "So this is a good point but I want to focus on tomorrow. Second in quali we still cannot get any points, so we see tomorrow if we can be on the podium. That's really something we need to do."

When the team ran under the BMW banner, it scored a famous 1-2 victory at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix with Robert Kubica leading home team mate Nick Heidfeld across the line. Doubtless the team's 2012 line-up would be thrilled to emulate that result, but in reality both are putting the acquisition of championship points at the top of the to-do list.

"I think very important for tomorrow to score much more points for us," agreed Kobayashi. "I'm not going to take any risks, of course. Races are something different. Starting second I think is not a risk, it's quite important, it will be important to manage the race. I definitely have to say it's not a risk race, we need to manage it well tomorrow."

Kobayashi said that whatever happens at Spa, it had been a perfect way to kick off the all-important hectic final part of the season.

"I think this is a really good start for the rest of the season," he said. "In these three months there are going to be like nine races, it's quite busy but very important for us.

"I think in this summer break, the guys had a lot of work and they did a really great job. We had really a lot of chats with them and we're happy to be here and confident and we showed that in quali. It's really great and thanks to the guys."

Kobayashi's recent strong performance has even led to his name being added onto the ever-growing list of names reported to be queuing up for the second seat at Ferrari, if the Maranello team opt to part ways with Felipe Massa. Kobayashi was startled by that suggestion, however.

"It's the first time I hear that. Nobody has told me, so I'm really surprised to hear that," he said. "I am focusing on the last nine races to score more and still, of course, nobody's discussed about next year so it's not a bit too late and of course there's a good option to stay with Sauber as well, but we never know what's a surprise."


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment