Rain Helps Kobayashi to Third Fastest Time Despite FP1 Accident at Silverstone


Kamui Kobayashi took advantage of a drying track to finish Friday at Silvestone as the third fastest driver whilst Sauber team-mate Sergio Perez ended the day in P9.

Kobayashi had less success with the weather conditions in the morning session however. He lost control on some wet astro turf, and almost rolled his Sauber. As it was, the collision with the wall caused some heavy damage to the car with just fifteen minutes of the session remaining, and provided his team with plenty of repair work to do in time for the afternoon running.

“First of all I want to say thank you to the mechanics who fixed my car in time for the second free practice,” said the Japanese driver. “When I crashed I had lost control on the wet astro turf.

“Despite this crash, I think it is obviously quite difficult to make any judgments on the car, the balance and the set up in today's conditions. However, our performance in the wet won't count for anything as the track will be dry tomorrow. Therefore we are looking forward to more surprises, hopefully nicer ones than we had today.”

Compared to his team-mate, Perez had a reasonably quiet day. One would describe his mood at the end of the practice sessions as optimistic:

“For me it was a good day, although we had no dry running at all,” said the Mexican. “We did some work today with new parts, and will only see tomorrow how the car handles in dry conditions. Almost everything we experience will be new and different on Saturday. I'm very positive and looking forward to a good qualifying session tomorrow.”

Sauber technical director James Key was pleased with the data collected on the Pirelli intermediate and wet tyres, and thinks that the car is working well in these inclement conditions. He also welcomed the new pit building that the teams find themselves in for the first time this weekend.

“It is great to be back at Silverstone in British summer time!” exclaimed Key, no doubt sarcastically. “We have good new facilities with a lot of garage space and a big crowd here in the rain. There is probably not much we can read into today with the conditions, as it was quite tricky to draw many conclusions.

“Fundamentally we got some good experience of the intermediate and wet tyres, which could be quite important for the rest of the weekend. In the morning we had some aero test parts on Sergio's car, while with Kamui we initially had some test parts, but changed them for standard parts due to the weather conditions.

“I think Sergio's programme worked quite well using the intermediate tyres, and he had a balance he was quite happy with in the conditions in FP1. Kamui was slightly less happy, but unfortunately he just clipped the outside of turn 16 and just as the surface changed he lost the rear end, which led to an off. The good thing is he was okay. The car was damaged, but not particularly badly and the guys did a great job to put it all together again for FP2.

“The second session was very, very wet to begin with and gradually it got better. Again we tried the wet tyre to begin with, which took a while to warm up and then the intermediate tyre at the end of the session as the track improved.

“We shall look at the data tonight but I don't think there is much we can read into it for tomorrow, but ultimately the car seems to be working okay in wet conditions. ”