The updates on the C29 allowed Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi and Pedro de la Rosa to claim 10th and 12th places on the grid for tomorrow’s Spanish Grand Prix.
Peter Sauber, the team principal, whose team have had a difficult start to the season, praised their hard work in recent weeks. “If you want to move forward on the grid, you have to take two steps, because the competition is not standing still. And that's exactly what we achieved. A great compliment and thank you to the whole team. We can be happy with what we achieved today.”
Kamui Kobayashi, who is yet to participate in a racing pit stop this season, was obviously pleased with his top ten grid slot, and now hopes to see the checkered flag tomorrow. “I already knew from the morning session that my pace here was good enough for Q3.The team did a really good job – not only in qualifying, but also over the last three weeks.
“We have changed the direction for the car's development and as a reward we made it for the second time this season to Q3. The performance of the car is a lot better. We have aero updates and also an engine upgrade for reliability.
“I won't set myself targets for tomorrow. I just hope to finish the race and everything else, I believe, will be okay then.”
In contrast, Pedro de la Rosa was not particularly pleased at the end of qualifying, and thought he should have been further up the grid. “I'm not happy,” said the Spaniard, on the eve of his home race. “In Q2 I was sixth and it obviously was possible to get into Q3. I don'treally understand what went wrong. I had a bit of understeer here and there and out ofturn two I was sliding. However, the positive thing is we have made a big step forward since the Chinese Grand Prix, and we are a lot more competitive.”
Sauber Technical Director James Key, who has recently joined the team from Force India, was proud of the progress the team had shown today: “That was an excellent qualifying result for our team, along with a genuine pace from both drivers, which was very encouraging.
“We weren't sure how far we could push forward in qualifying, but I think after Q1 we realised we had a good chance of doing well, and I think in Q2 that proved to be the case. Pedro was just a few tenths of asecond shy of Q3, but Kamui put an excellent single lap together to get through. We didn't have any new tyres for Q3, but we decided nevertheless to give it a go.
“A great performance from both drivers, and a well deserved result for the team. The updates worked, which was very much a team effort, and we can be proud of the step we made. Now we have to keep it going.”