Sauber pulled out their best qualifying performance of the season in Belgium with Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez securing second and fourth on the grid. For Kobayashi, the result was the best of his career and the first front row start for a Japanese driver since Takuma Sato in the 2004 European Grand Prix.
Kamui missed out on pole by three tenths to Jenson Button and is now targeting a maiden Formula One podium in tomorrow’s race.
“I am very happy for the team and myself. We had felt quite positive before we came here, but I think it is fair to say we didn’t expect to be second and fifth in qualifying. We have had strong races this year, but qualifying has been a weakness and the guys have done a great job to improve this. I want to thank them very much. After not having time to learn much in either practice session on Friday because of the rain, like everyone else our first dry running was this morning and after free practice three we knew we were quite good. I will be on the front row tomorrow and this is certainly nice, but we don’t score points for that. The podium must be the target and to reach it we still have a long way to go. We have to get the tyre management and strategy right and cannot allow ourselves the smallest mistake. “
Perez qualified fifth but a post-session penalty for Pastor Maldonado promoted him up to the second row and the Mexican will head into the race with the same goal as his teammate.
“Second and fifth are really good qualifying positions for our team and I am pleased for the crew. Personally I’m not too happy because my last lap in Q3 wasn’t perfect. I had the feeling the car was performing differently to this morning. In any case, the most important part comes tomorrow. It will be a very challenging race on a demanding circuit. I need a good start and I want to fight the people in front of me because I know the car will allow me to do that. I am definitely targeting another podium.”
Team CEO Monisha Kaltenborn was bursting with pride and has challenged the drivers to maintain the feel good factor tomorrow.
“It is a fantastic result for the team and our best so far. I think it is very important after the break that we have come back so strong. We have seen the potential and always said if we could just be further up the grid we could show so much more. We are in that position and it is now up to us to continue that trend tomorrow. Hats off to the team at home that has done such a good job getting a good car here, and also to the team in Spa which has done a great job so far.”