Sauber F1 Team driver Kamui Kobayashi feels it will be difficult for the team to match Force India during this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix after Friday's practice sessions.
The Japanese driver says that although the team appear to have better pace than in Germany last weekend, they have work to do to get ahead of their chief rivals in qualifying. Kobayashi finished both sessions in 11th place.
“Although we look better than we did at the Nurburgring, I have the feeling it will be tough to catch the Force India cars, but we want to get in front of them in tomorrow's qualifying,” he said. “The balance of my car is not really brilliant yet, but I think we can improve that. For me the soft tyre is the difficult one up to now, so I prefer the super-soft.”
Teammate Sergio Perez seemed to be a little more optimistic, echoing Kobayashi's feelings about their pace compared to last weekend. He placed ninth and 12th in the two sessions.
“I think we have a better pace here than we had recently at the Nurburgring, and I also believe the ambient temperatures, which are supposed to get higher, will help us to do a better qualifying as it is crucial to get the super-soft tyres to work then,” said the Mexican driver, who together with Kobayashi was confirmed with the team for 2012.
“On the long runs I had degradation with both compounds, but with the soft the balance was better compared to the super-soft. For me the soft tyres were also more consistent than the super-soft. I believe it will become quite an interesting weekend for all of us in regard to the tyres.”
Technical Director James Key commented: “It was a reasonably productive day. The weather conditions changed as the day progressed. We expected rain this afternoon, and in the end it was quite the reverse. The track temperatures went up to what probably will be more relevant in relation to what we expect tomorrow and on Sunday, so it was a useful session in that respect.
“We've been working pretty much the whole day on the set-up of the cars, and we found several good directions from what we did both in the morning and afternoon. We've got some work to do in the middle sector just to get the balance a little bit better. We collected a lot of data, and we just have to continue to work hard over night to make more progress.”