Kamui Kobayashi was left to rue his qualifying issue at Catalunya after missing out on a podium finish in the Spanish Grand Prix.

A hydraulic issue forced Kobayashi to sit out the final stage of qualifying in Barcelona and meant he had to start ninth on the grid, making the most of his strategy to work his forwards up the field.

Despite his used harder compound tyres leading to a struggle late on, the Japanese driver crossed the line in fifth place although he insisted afterwards that it could have been better had he been starting higher up the grid.

"The team did a really great job, and the update on our car works very well," he said. "The pace in the race was a big improvement compared to the last race. I absolutely believe I could have made it onto the podium today if I had not been so unlucky in qualifying yesterday.

"If you start ninth you can be happy finishing fifth, but the car had more potential. I was in traffic and overtaking was not easy. I could not do it on the straights with the help of the DRS because there I wasn't close enough. So I had to take some risks and do it in the corners. I damaged my tyres quite a lot in the last stint. The competition is really tight at the moment. If you want to get in front of the pack you have to get everything right on the weekend. This is what Pastor (Maldonado) did.

"The last time I came fifth was last year in Monaco, and I am very much looking forward to returning to the Principality soon."

Team boss Peter Sauber was quick to praise Kobayashi for his performance and said he was pleased that the updates introduced by the team had worked as expected.

"Kamui drove a fantastic race," he said. "He lost quite a lot of time in traffic, but was then able to overtake Jenson Button and Nico Rosberg with two great attacks. He scored ten important points. But this race also showed that our development package works as planned, also on a difficult track like this one. This makes me optimistic for the next races. Thanks to the whole team, and also everyone in the factory, for making this happen."