Sauber get best qualifying result of the season in rain-hit Sepang

Kamui Kobayashi managed to qualifying in the top ten for the first time in his Formula 1 career today in Malaysia, while his Sauber teammate claimed twelfth spot on tomorrow’s starting grid.

The Japanese driver, who will start ninth tomorrow, senses a difficult race if more rain falls. “I am very happy to have made it into Q3 for the first time. Last year in Brazil, also in wet conditions, I was close but then I spun on my last lap in Q2. I learnt this lesson. In dry conditions our performance seemed to be rather difficult, therefore I am even happier with my position. It is not easy to drive in the wet because of aquaplaning, which obviously will get worse if it rains tomorrow because of the heavy cars for the race start. But I am determined to score points tomorrow.”

Pedro de la Rosa got stuck in traffic in Q2, which meant he missed out on a top ten grid slot. The Spaniard said the rain made qualifying very challenging. “It was a quite difficult qualifying because of the changeable conditions. You never knew how much water to expect when braking into a corner. The car was pretty good in the wet, and I could have made it into the top ten if I just had a single clear lap. But even on my fastest lap I had to overtake two cars in the last sector. However, certainly we can look forward to a very exciting race tomorrow!”

Peter Sauber, the team principal, was understandably delighted with his team’s best qualifying performance of the season. “It's nice to have one car in 12th and the other one in the top ten. The engineers and drivers did a good job today. This result is motivating for the whole team. We are looking forward to a thrilling race.”

Technical director Willy Rampf explained that important strategy calls were behind the team’s success in the rain. Due to the constantly changing weather conditions it was an exciting qualifying in which we made the best decisions with regard to strategy and timing. The team was rewarded with a solid result. Kamui's performance was strong and he managed to make it into the top ten.”