Sauber’s race in Spain ruined by first lap incidents


Sauber where unable to carry their improved form in qualifying into the race today, as Pedro de la Rosa was forced to retire and Kamui Kobayashi finished outside the points in 12th.

Kobayashi, who started 10th, did at least finish his first race of the season. The Japanese driver had previously not made it past lap 11. A first lap incident ruined his race but the driver is pleased with the progress the team have shown this weekend: “I had a good start but in turn three I was hit by Robert (Kubica). I think I left him enough room but he said he had understeer. However, this was where I lost ground. I came back from the gravel in 15th.

“I'm convinced, given the progress we made with the car, without this incident I would have been able to score points today. Later I got stuck behind Vitaly (Petrov) in the other Renault. It is really not easy to overtake on the Circuit de Catalunya. I tried hard but it didn't work out. At least I finished my first Grand Prix this year.”

De la Rosa’s chances were also ruined by an early touch from another car. “I can't explain how disappointed I am,” said the Spaniard. “I had a good start but I got hit by a Toro Rosso which caused a rear tyre puncture. I pitted for a tyre change but meanwhile the damageto the car, caused by the exploded tyre, was quite extensive. We tried to continue but the car was undriveable. It just made no sense and we had to give up.

Team Principal Peter Sauber is positive after the team’s weekend in Barcelona, despite not scoring any points. “Looking back to the race weekend, it was positive we improved the performance of the car which enabled Kamui to make it to the top ten in qualifying. And finally he was able to finish his first race this season. Unfortunately it was compromised on lap one whenhe was hit from behind. The same applies to Pedro, who was touched also from behind by another competitor, destroying not only the tyre but, as a result, also the floor of the car and this forced him to retire.

Sauber technical director James Key also thinks that the car’s performance deserved a higher finish. “Obviously it is disappointing not to score some points today, because this was clearly possible. Both drivers got away at the start but Pedro's car was hit from behind which gave him a puncture. He came into the pits and changed his tyres. But out on the trackagain he reported a lot of oversteer. We looked into the data and decided to call him in, because there was too much damage to the floor.

“Kamui made a good start, but wasalso tapped from behind in turn three and lost several positions. From then on it was about recovering as much as possible, but he was held up by the drivers in front of him. It's difficult to overtake in Barcelona. He drove an excellent race and got a finish for the car which was important for us.

“The car was very reliable throughout the race. Unfortunately he could have finished higher, as the pace was definitely good enough to be in the top ten.