Both Sauber drivers are in positive moods this evening in Abu Dhabi despite contrasting fortunes in qualifying today: Sergio Perez will start the race from eleventh place, whilst Kamui Kobayashi will be down in sixteenth.
“I'm very happy with 11th in qualifying,” said Perez. “Everybody in the team did a good job. I did my fastest lap time in Q2 with a set of soft tyres I had used before in Q1. Of course I was hoping to improve in Q2 when I got the fresh tyres, but it was impossible for me to get them to work.
“We are in a challenging situation regarding the battle for positions in the constructors' championship, but I hope for a good race with an aggressive strategy tomorrow. Everything can happen. It will be my first twilight race, but I have seen yesterday and today that the tinted tear off visors work quite well. “
Kobayashi explains that tyre problems were the main reason why he was about four tenths slow than his team-mate in Q2 today.
“I did what was eventually my fastest lap time in Q2 on the set of soft tyres I had used before in Q1,” said the Japanese driver. “This lap wasn't perfect, but I put my hopes on the set of new tyres. Then we struggled a lot to get the fresh ones up to temperature and that's why I couldn't improve. The difference in grip between the used set and the new one was really big. Nevertheless I have a good feeling for the race here.”
Eponymous team principal Peter Sauber was pleased with the performance today, particularly that of Perez. “After some difficult qualifying sessions in recent races, we were able to make a step forward today, which is really positive,” he said. “Sergio drove a very good lap and just missed making it into Q3. He was able to keep the Toro Rosso cars, our direct competitors, behind him and also the two Renault cars, which was positive. For Kamui it didn't work out that well. However, I'm confident about our performance for the race where it will be crucial to manage the tyres properly.