Sauber were left frustrated after a pointless outing at the Buddh International Circuit
in Greater Noida for the 2012 F1 Indian Grand Prix
on Sunday, with Sergio Perez ending up back in the garage after only a third of the race, and Kamui Kobayashi
slumping to 14th place after clashing with Pastor Maldonado
and then getting stuck behind a Toro Rosso
in the final laps.
"I have to say it wasn't our weekend here," admitted Kobayashi. "In the race I was never alone, I always had someone in front of me but not enough straight line pace to overtake. This was frustrating. I was stuck behind Daniel Ricciardo and there was nothing I could do.
"The issue with Pastor Maldonado
was a bit strange," he said of the lap 31 incident with the Williams. "He had overtaken me but then he suddenly came on my racing line again. I could not avoid having contact."
From video footage, it looked as though Maldonado believed he was further ahead of the Sauber than he was and attempted to move back to the normal racing line to take the next left hander. Instead, his rear tyre caught Kobayashi's front wing and was sliced open, sending Maldonado skidding over the gravel run-off.
Fortunately the clash didn't wreck Kobayashi's car and he was able to continue to the finish, albeit now stuck behind Ricciardo who had got past him during the incident.
"I think we should make sure we have a smooth weekend in Abu Dhabi and forget about this one here,' signed the Japanese driver. But the poor result won't help his campaign to keep hold of his race seat with the team in 2013.
"A disappointing race. Kamui fought hard but his grid position was too much of a handicap," was the view of team principal Monisha Kaltenborn.
The team's head of track eEngineering, Giampaolo Dall'Ara, agreed that having to start from 17th place after a poor qualifying effort on Saturday had been decisive in the way that Kobayashi's race had panned out.
"Kamui had to start too far behind," said Dall'Ara. "Although he had better pace than Daniel, he was not able to overtake him and lost too much time in the first part of the race. Kamui was not able to recover from that.”