Sauber scored their first world championship point of the season in Turkey today as Kamui Kobayashi finished tenth in Istanbul.
It was also the first race where Sauber have got both cars to the checkered flag, with Pedro de la Rosa coming home eleventh, just behind his teammate.
“I am very happy that we finished the race with both cars and got the first point,” said Kobayashi. “I had a good start, although I was on the dirty side of the track, and the pace of the car in the beginning was good.
“Our race strategy was not easy. The car was better on the harder tyre compound, therefore we did a very short first stint on the softer ones. I pitted after ten laps and drove the rest of the race with the same set of tyres.
“In the end I could see from the car the canvas on the front right tyre. Therefore I started to be very careful, especially in turn 8, and that's also the reason why I didn't defend any harder against Adrian Sutil.”
De la Rosa was faster than Kobayashi towards the end of the race, but understood why the team didn’t want him to attempt a risky pass on his teammate.
“With the high fuel level I had a lot of understeer in the beginning of the race, so I paced myself waiting for my chances to come later in the race,” explained the Spaniard. “The lighter the car became the better the balance was. The front end came back and I had no problems with the tyres.
“Certainly I would have been fighting at the end if it hadn't been my team mate in front of me. Our team needed desperately to bring both cars home and score this point.
“You have to be careful taking risks and this was not the time to attack and risk losing everything. It is better this point stays with us rather then going somewhere else. We finished this race being competitive and this is very good.”
Peter Sauber said that this result was indicative of the team’s recent improvements in performance: “Looking at the whole weekend it's clear we were able to confirm the upward trend which we sawin Barcelona. Of course we were lucky in the race, but we finished with both cars and finally scored a well deserved championship point.”
Sauber Technical Director James Key explained how the race unfolded for the team:
“It was fairly eventful in many ways, because, to begin with, it was a case of making sure we were matching the top ten pace, which Kamui did superbly well. He stayed very close behind Fernando Alonso.
“On the strategy side of things, we decided to bring the cars in early, and particularly Kamui given his tyres were several laps old after doing Q3 with a used set of tyres.That seemed to be the right call. Unfortunately he was held up slightly at his pit stop, which cost him two seconds. Without that he could have been further ahead.
“Towards the end Kamui's tyres went off quite badly at the front, and he lost quite a lot of lap time, which allowed Pedro and some other cars to catch him up. But the fact is both came home in tenth and 11th.
“I think this is deserved by everyone and we should be very pleased with this result.”