Sauber ended their very difficult weekend in Monaco on a high as Kamui Kobayashi collected fifth place for the team.
Kobayashi had to conserve his tyres well to make his one-stop strategy pay off in an eventful race on the streets of Monte Carlo. Without the red flags and subsequent restart resulting from a collision between Lewis Hamilton, Jaime Alguersuari and Vitaly Petrov, he may even have finished fourth.
“I am very happy,” said Kobayashi. “I was struggling a lot in qualifying, but the team did a great job with the pit stop strategy today.
“The call for the tyre change came at a perfect time. It was no problem to go for such a long stint with the super soft tyres, and I think they would have lasted even longer.
“After the start I had problems with traffic, but then one after the other they stopped and it became better for me. After my one and only pit stop I was stuck behind Adrian Sutil, and at the same time I had to defend against Mark Webber. In this situation it was a bit difficult to manage the tyres.
“Without the restart I obviously could have finished fourth. But when Mark was so close behind me on the final laps there was nothing I could do to defend that place. However, I think fifth is a great achievement at the end of what was a difficult weekend.“
Peter Sauber congratulated Kobayashi on his excellent drive, and hopes that Sergio Perez will have recovered and be joining him on the grid at the next race in Canada.
“Once more Kamui drove a fantastic race, managing the tyres very well, and the car was strong too,” said the eponymous team principal. “This is a result he has deserved for a long time. My compliments to Kamui, and also a big thank you to the whole team who prepared the car perfectly. I now hope we can start in Montreal with our regular driver pairing.”
The team heard this morning that Sergio Perez, who suffered concussion in a heavy accident in qualifying yesterday, would undergo further precautionary scans at the Hospital Princess Grace in Monaco today and tomorrow. Technical director James Key summed up the feeling amongst the team after today’s race:
“It's great to bring points home in what has been a very mixed weekend, both in terms of performance and emotion with Checo's crash. We can dedicate these points to him as a team and hope that we can get back to normal in Montreal.”