The inaugural Indian Grand Prix brought mixed fortunes for the two Sauber drivers today: Sergio Perez impressed by battling his way from twentieth on the grid to finish tenth and collect a point for his team, but Kamui Kobayashi was forced to retired on the first lap.
“I'm very happy to have scored that point today,” said Perez. “At least this way I can pay back something to the team after I made that mistake on Friday, for which I received the grid penalty of three places.
“We had a very good strategy today. It was a risky one as well, but it paid off, the team did a good job on that. I used the hard tyre only for the first lap. After that stop I was then stuck in traffic. Actually I expected the safety car to come out because in the first sector there was a lot of oil on the track. However, after I had passed Paul di Resta I was able to push.
“The first set of soft tyres was good. With the second I struggled a bit to warm them up, Adrian Sutil was really fast, and I couldn't catch him. Overall I think in qualifying we clearly didn't exploit the potential of the car, and we all know that we have to improve.”
Kobayashi did not have much to say after the race, but did at least explain why he had to stop the car:
“Unfortunately today my race is a very disappointing and short story,” said the Japanese driver. “After the start I was hit from behind and immediately I saw smoke and fire coming from my car. Obviously there was severe damage, so I had to stop and switch the car off.”
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering at Sauber, explained the problem for Kobayashi in a bit more detail:
“It was a pity for Kamui who was involved in an incident in corner one,” he said. “This damaged his radiator, and he lost all the oil and had to stop immediately.
“For Sergio we went for an unusual strategy. He started on the hard tyre and pitted after lap one. He drove a strong race and made up one place after the other.
“It was the right decision yesterday not to use new soft tyres in Q2, so he had two fresh sets today and could attack all the way along. After a bad day yesterday we fought back today. That's good for the morale in the whole team.”