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Kobayashi jubilant after first F1 podium finish

Kamui Kobayashi couldn't have won his maiden F1 podium at a better place that Suzuka, as an adoring Japanese crowd chanted the name of their favourite motor racing son.
It's been a long time since a Japanese driver stood on a podium at the end of an F1 Grand Prix - Aguri Suzuki in 1990, to be specific - and the adoring crowd at Suzuka were ecstatic that a little piece of history had been made before their very eyes.

Even before Kamui Kobayashi appeared on the podium, the chanting for "Kamui! Kamui!" was roaring up from the crowd. The only person in Japan more swept away by the emotion of the moment was the driver himself.

“It hasn't sunk in yet, it is hard to believe," said the 26-year-old. "I achieved my first podium in Suzuka!"

"A podium finish for Kamui in his home country is simply incredible," said Sauber's CEO Monisha Kaltenborn. "I can't express how happy I am!

"He did an outstanding race today, particularly in the final part when he was under huge pressure from Jenson Button," she added. "He didn't make the smallest mistake and defended his third position in great style."

Kobayashi was helped by his excellent qualifying performance on Saturday, which meant that he was safely ahead of the fall-out from Fernando Alonso's spin in the first corner at the start of the race.

"Starting from third obviously helped a lot and also the long run I did on Friday made me very confident for the race," he said. "I had a very long last stint today and Jenson changed for fresh tyres later. My rear tyres where really bad in the end and I had a lot of oversteer.

"But regardless of this I had to push to defend my podium place," he continued. "Only during the final lap did I allow myself to really think I can keep him behind me, because then the best overtaking opportunity at the end of the straight was over, and then I saw all the fans and the raised hands. It meant a lot to me and I want to thank the Japanese fans."

Kobayashi gave his thanks to the Sauber team that had made it possible for him to feature so strongly in his home Grand Prix this weekend.

"The Sauber F1 Team did a great job to recover from there," he said. "The team has built a great car this year. You can tell this from the podium finishes my team-mate has had.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
06.10.2012- Free Practice 3, Sergio Perez (MEX) 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
28.07.2012- Monisha Kaltenborn (AUT), Chief Executive Officer, Sauber F1 Team and Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Sauber F1 Team C31
07.10.2012- Race, 3rd position Kamui Kobayashi (JAP) Sauber F1 Team C31
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Sauber, F1 [Credit: Honda Racing]
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Sauber C36
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10
Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM10

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Dee - Unregistered

October 07, 2012 12:54 PM

I lived in Mie Prefecture in Japan for half a decade and used travel the 40 minutes to Suzuka regularly. Though not Japanese, I can't tell you how proud I am of Kamui, and I wish I was back there chanting his name with the rest of the crowd at the trophy presentation. Though Sato had his moments, many of the other recent Japanese drivers have not really been up to scratch. Kamui has made it to F1 on skill, and I hope someday to see him up on the top step of the podium. A great result from a great young driver. I hope to see him up there many times more...

Keep Her Lit - Unregistered

October 07, 2012 3:17 PM

Kobi should NOT be out of F1 in 2013 , this guy deserves a really decent car to show his talent.He outqualified perez all year.perez made an ass of himself today , just like Peterschiff did in his inane comment at the beginning of this forum

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