Kamui Kobayashi won the coveted Rookie of the Year Award at the Autosport Awards last week, a prize voted for by motor sport fans visiting the Autosport.com website.
The 24-year-old Japanese driver won many fans over his first full season in F1 after some excellent drives which features some brave overtaking manoeuvres. One of the outstanding drives of the season was Kobayashi at his home race in Suzuka at the beginning of October.
The ‘Rookie of the Year’ award began in 2000 and among the winners are the last three F1 World Champions – Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, and Sebastian Vettel.
“I want to thank the readers and users of Autosport.com very, very much for their votes!” said Kobayashi. “Last year I attended the gala just as a guest, and now I am one of the awardees. Many good drivers have won this rookie award before me, and it is very nice for me to belong to that circle now.
“Obviously I will never have the chance to win this prize again because next year I'm not a rookie anymore. I will do my best to maybe come back one day to pick up one of the other trophies.”
Peter Sauber spoke on behalf of Kobayashi’s Sauber team. “We are very proud of Kamui and it is a great pleasure and honour for us that the readers of Autosport have awarded his performance this way,” said the eponymous team principal. “Kamui has proved to be a true team player, especially in the first half of the season, which was technically very troublesome, and he has improved constantly over the course of the season. He has shown great performance and established himself against strong competition.”