Sauber endured a disastrous race at the Belgian Grand Prix today. The Swiss team had come into the race with high hopes following their best qualifying performance of the year. Kamui Kobayashi started second, with Sergio Perez being promoted to fourth due to Maldonado’s penalty. Both drivers were taken out of contention at the first corner however.
Perez was hit by Grosjean and retired immediately, whilst Kobayashi was hit by Grosjean, Alonso and Hamilton. Despite the contact, he continued to a disappointing thirteenth place- his car substantially damaged in the crash not helping matters.
“This is a terrible race result after we had been doing so well in qualifying. There was nothing I could do when a car came flying into mine after the start. I had to pit once for some repairs and then again after seven laps because of a slow puncture. During the race I didn’t really know how bad the damage to the car was, but I could see a tyre print on the cockpit all the time,” the Japanese driver said.
“Later in parc fermé I understood why I was so slow, as the side pod and some other bodywork had gone. Apparently before the start my car drew a lot of attention because of the smoke. The brakes were too hot, but I was still able to finish the race with them. I don’t know why I then also had more wheel spin than expected, so we are looking into that as well.”
“I am very disappointed for myself and the team as it was such a good opportunity for us to fight for a victory today. Pastor Maldonado had a jump start first of all. I went on the inside of Fernando Alonso. I was going into turn one, braking and then suddenly the cars came from behind and hit me and it was a big mess. I am now looking forward to the next race in Monza,” was all a disappointed Perez could say.
“It is very disappointing that once again factors beyond our control have ruined another race of ours. We have to take the positive out of this weekend that if we don’t make mistakes and get the right qualifying we can be right in front, and that has to be our target again for the next race,” the team’s CEO, Monisha Kaltenborn concluded.