Within the first few minute of Turkish Grand Prix qualifying it all start to go wrong for Sauber as Kamui Kobayashi came to a halt on his first flying lap with what has now been confirmed as a ‘fuel system problem’.
Whilst Kobayashi will start tomorrow’s race from the back row, team-mate Sergio Perez faired only slightly better by qualifying fifteenth, a result with which both driver and team are disappointed.
“Of course I'm disappointed about today's qualifying result,” said Perez. “In Q1 my lap time with the harder tyre compound was okay, but then in Q2 the run on the softer compound was not good. Generally we did some changes after Friday's practice sessions.
“It was quite difficult to do the set-up because of the changing weather conditions. Some changes were in the right direction and others were not. However, my car was ok in qualifying. It will not be an easy race for us but I still hope to manage to score a point tomorrow.”
Kobayashi knows that he has a lot of work to do tomorrow, and concedes that, even if he had nursed his car back to the pit lane, his qualifying session would have been over anyway. “It was a problem with the fuel system,” he said bluntly. “I hoped to make it back into the garage but I stopped before the pit lane entrance. Anyway, for me the session would have been over even if I had make it into the garage because it takes a lot of time to change the fuel system.
“I have to accept that it was bad luck for me and I want to do a good race tomorrow. Although I like overtaking a lot, I must admit there are an awful lot of cars between me and the first point.“
Eponymous Team Principal Peter Sauber voiced the frustration of the whole team at the result. “The result of Sergio was disappointing for me,” he said. “Based on his competitive lap time in the first part of qualifying on the hard compound we expected him to make it into Q3, however, for some reason he was not able to extract the maximum from the soft tyres. We calculated a diffrerence of [approximately] one second, but this was finally not the case.”