Sauber had a good Saturday at Silverstone with Pedro de la Rosa getting his first top-ten grid slot of the season, and Kamui Kobayashi qualifying twelfth.
De la Rosa will start tomorrow’s race from ninth place, and shares the fifth row of the grid with Michael Schumacher in the Mercedes.
“I am a very happy man today,” said the Spaniard. “It was not only my best qualifying this year, but also the best Saturday because in free practice this morning my car was very good. We learned a lot during Friday's practice sessions and made a lot of changes, aerodynamically as well as mechanically. Now my car is very consistent.
“Ahead of the weekend we thought we would be quite good here because of the high speed corners, and it has turned out we are. It is good to match expectations. The new parts we took to Valencia worked and the small steps we have for Silverstone are an improvement too.”
Kobayashi blamed inconsistency for the fact that he couldn’t join his teammate in Q3. “The overall performance of the car has definitely improved, but today I found it extremely difficult to put a good lap together,” said the Japanese driver.
“I got it right in one corner, but wrong in the next. Sometimes the grip was there, sometimes it wasn't. I struggled from a lack of consistency. The race is a different story and from 12th on the grid there is certainly a good chance to score points.”
Sauber technical director James Key said that the team were expecting to be competitive around this circuit, and is hoping for points finishes in tomorrow’s race.
“We had anticipated this track would suit our car better than some others, but we needed to work a lot after we arrived here,” he said. “The engineers did an excellent job to get the car's balance right.
“In the morning session you could see we had made a good step forward, so our target was to get to Q3. It was a brilliant drive from Pedro. He put in a superb lap for his best qualifying result so far this season.
“Kamui also did very well coming so close to Q3, and he just missed it by a tenth of a second. We will now concentrate on the race tomorrow and hope to score some more points.”