Sergio Perez and Sauber surprised everybody, not least themselves, by taking second place today in Monza through a perfectly executed one-stop strategy.
The Mexican driver, who has now scored three podiums in 2012, started today’s race from twelfth, yet had the speed to overtake the likes of Fernando Alonso in the final few laps of the grand prix. Had the race been a bit longer, he would have been challenging Lewis Hamilton for the win.
“This was a very enjoyable race for me,” said Perez. “It was one of those where you have the pace and are the one to attack.
“I am very happy for the team which is working very hard. It is a really good team, I am proud of it. I didn’t have an easy first stint with the hard tyres but it was certainly the right strategy.
“I was frequently in contact with the team on the radio because I was worried the tyres would suddenly drop and we would have to change our strategy. Also we were not quite sure how quickly they would warm up. However, it worked out fine, I could stay out as long as I needed to for our strategy.
“The second stint was then really maximum attack and I must say all of the drivers I overtook have been fair. They didn’t leave me more room than they had to, but it was always enough. This is the way it should be.
“I am very pleased at having achieved my first European podium in Monza.”
Kamui Kobayashi was more than overshadowed by his team-mate today has he started eighth and finished ninth. However, he picked up another two points to add to the 18 scored by Perez.
“First of all congratulations to Sergio – well done, mate!” said the Japanese driver. “It is a great day for our team.
“I have nothing to complain about with my race, but for some reason I just didn’t have the pace. Obviously I raced on a different strategy as I had to start on the tyres I qualified with. For both compounds I admit I had a lack of experience as we hadn’t managed to do long runs on Friday. I just had a normal race, so there wasn’t really anything special.”
Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn revealed even they weren’t expecting the pace of the C31 to bethat good here at Monza.
“What a day and what a result!” she exclaimed. “I have to say this comes as somewhat of a surprise on a track which we thought would be quite challenging for our car. But once again we proved our strong race performance.
“For quite some time Sergio was the fastest driver out there. It’s fantastic that the team back at our home base prepared such a competitive car. The race team made the right decisions for the set-up and the strategy and the drivers delivered on the track.
“These 20 points are very important for our goal to move up in the championship.”