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Kobayashi sets sights on podium after avoiding penalty

Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi has his sights firmly set on his first podium in F1, after holding on to his third place on the starting grid for tomorrow's Japanese GP.
When Kamui Kobayashi put in an excellent final flying lap in qualifying for the 2012 F1 Grand Prix of Japan on Saturday afternoon to set the fourth fastest time of Q3, it seemed inevitable that the celebrations in the Sauber garage would be cut short by the inevitable summons from the stewards office.

TV replays had shown that the yellow flags had been out for Kimi Raikkonen's beached Lotus as Kobayashi went through on his flying lap, and that's the sort of offence that can get a driver a painful rap on the knuckles for disrespecting safety procedures.

But as it turned out, Sauber could probe that everything was just fine after all: "On my last lap I lost a bit of time because of the yellow flag when I backed off and switched off the DRS," said Kobayashi.

The telemetry data supported his explanation, and with KERS also not used during the part of S2 affected by the yellow flags it meant the stewards were happy that Kobayashi had done everything required of him. Not only did the Japanese driver keep his fastest lap time, he even got an extra bonus when fourth place became third on the grid thanks to a gearbox penalty for McLaren's Jenson Button.

"I want to thank the team for the big step forward they have managed with the car since Friday," said Kobayashi. "In the beginning we were struggling with the new parts but now we have got it right. After quite a few changes to the settings the car is fast again."

Sauber's CEO Monisha Kaltenborn explained that the team had struggled at first to get their new aero upgrades working. "We brought a new aero package to Suzuka, did a lot of work evaluating it yesterday and finally got the reward," she said.

Third place on the grid means that a podium finish is a genuine possibility for Kobayashi in the race on Sunday. That would be his first in F1, and it would mean the world for him if it were to happen here, before his home crowd.

"I should have a chance to fight for a podium finish, and it would be a dream come true if I could achieve my first podium in F1 in front of my home crowd," he said. "But first of all I have to manage a good start, and then I should have more luck than in Spa this year where I started from the front row but got involved in an accident."

His team mate Sergio Perez was also involved in that accident. In his first race since the announcement that he was leaving the team at the end of the season to replace Lewis Hamilton at McLaren, the Mexican youngster managed to secure fifth place on the grid for Sunday and has every intention of getting a podium of his own.

"I am very happy for the team that we have achieved such a strong qualifying result today," he said. "I'm confident tomorrow in the race we will be able to fight for another podium."

"Great compliments to the team and, in particular, to the two drivers who both did a great job," said Kaltenborn, hailing the day's work as "a sensational result" and adding: "Now our goal is to convert this qualifying result into a great race."

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
06.10.2012- Sergio Pérez (MEX) Sauber F1 Team C31
06.10.2012- Free Practice 3, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber F1 Team C31
06.10.2012- Free Practice 3, Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Sauber F1 Team C31
06.10.2012- Qualifying, (L-R) Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Sauber F1 Team C31 and Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber F1 Team C31
27.07.2017 - Frederic Vasseur (FRA) Sauber Team Principal
27.07.2017 - Frederic Vasseur (FRA) Sauber Team Principal
27.07.2017 - Frederic Vasseur (FRA) Sauber Team Principal
27.07.2017 - Frederic Vasseur (FRA) Sauber Team Principal
27.07.2017 - Frederic Vasseur (FRA) Sauber Team Principal
27.07.2017 - Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
27.07.2017 - Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
27.07.2017 - Frederic Vasseur (FRA) Sauber Team Principal
27.07.2017 - Frederic Vasseur (FRA) Sauber Team Principal
27.07.2017 - Frederic Vasseur (FRA) Sauber Team Principal
27.07.2017 - Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Sauber, F1 [Credit: Honda Racing]
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36

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Keep Her Lit - Unregistered

October 06, 2012 8:07 PM

Hope Kobi does get a podium , its long overdue and well deserved , cannot understand how this guy has outqualfied perez all year and his job is in jeopardy while perez goes to mclaren. I would slot Kobi right into Ferrari 2013 if I had my way

JJJ - Unregistered

October 06, 2012 6:25 PM

I hope Kamui gets his start right tomorrow and finally gets a podium of his own. I think Kobayashi can be just as good if not better than Perez in a really good car but that said at some point regardless of whether or not it is his or the teams fault or maybe bad luck that he hasn't been on the podium yet he does need to get one to have a shot to be at a better team or at this point even to stay at Sauber. He definitely has the speed, but Trulli had that as well in his prime yet the results never really caught up with the blistering one-lap potential. Kamui has shown he has the pace and the racecraft to overtake but he needs to start showing he can put a couple of flawless stints together on a regular basis, or else the people in the paddock will change from wanting him to make good on the promise to establishing he's not capable to fight at the top of the field. Just get the nerves under control and do it this time.

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