Sauber duo Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi were both highly competitive in a heated mid field battle in the 2012 F1 Singapore Grand Prix, but the two drivers eventually finished outside the points in 11th and 13th respectively after a frustrating night for the team.

Perez in particular came down to earth with a bump following his third podium of the season last time out in Monza, and made little progress after having started from 14th place on the grid. For once he had not been able to attempt one of his trademark mammoth stints, but still ended up being pushed wide in turn 1.

"We were struggling a lot and we never had the pace," said Perez, who admitted that it had been a difficult weekend for the team. "We tried everything including split race strategies but in the end points were not within reach today."

The young Mexican spent much of the race embroiled in battles outside of the top ten, and despite the notable retirements of some big names ahead, he could only convert his starting slot into an eleventh place finish, reflecting afterwards that the team were simply lacking speed.

"I had some good battles but it was too difficult for me to overtake, we have to improve for the next race in Suzuka and I'm sure we will."

Meanwhile team mate Kamui Kobayashi had a nightmare weekend. Having lost out in the first phase of qualifying on Saturday, the Japanese star had to start well down the running order and then came off worst in a battle between himself, Perez, Red Bull's Mark Webber and Force India's Nico H?lkenberg

Eventually Kobayashi would shatter his front wing on the back of H?lkenberg's car, which forced him to make an unscheduled pit stop that ruled him out of a strong finish.

"After the second safety car deployment I couldn't avoid touching Nico H?lkenberg, there was no space to go," he said. "For me it was a race incident. Nico said sorry when we met after the race; apparently he had oversteer.

"I lost my front wing and had to pit," he reflected afterwards, before finishing on a more upbeat note with a look to the next race. "I have complete confidence we will come back strong at the Japanese Grand Prix."

That's a view that the whole team is likely to share. Not only should the fast and flowing nature of Suzuka suit the Sauber a lot better, it's also Kobayashi's home race.

By Philip Barclay

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