Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn said that the team were ‘quite happy’ with their performance in qualifying today as Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez finished the session ninth and thirteenth.
The team expected to find the track here at Monza a challenge, as the C31 is not particularly well suited to its characteristics.
Kobayashi will acutally start tomorrow’s Italian Grand Prix from eighth place, thanks to a grid penalty for Paul di Resta, who drops to ninth. Perez starts from twelfth, owing to a grid penalty for Pastor Maldonado.
“Well we don’t have the same pace here as we did last week in Spa, which made it a tough qualifying,” said the Japanese driver. “Having said this, I am happy to have reached the first target which was to get through to Q3.
“Friday was pretty difficult because a mechanical problem prevented me from doing the mileage I would have wanted, and this is also why I cannot really make any predictions on how the race will go. I lack the experience of proper long runs.
“After the third free practice session this morning we changed the car’s settings quite a lot and this paid off in qualifying, I got confidence in the car back.
“My lap time in Q2 was really good – half a second quicker than in Q3 – and to me this was the maximum possible. However, it was a shame I didn’t manage to improve on my second lap during the final attempt. I want to get a strong race result tomorrow.”
Perez was disappointed to miss out on Q3, especially as his team-mate managed to get through. He is, however, optimistic of getting some points tomorrow.
“We knew it would be tight to make it into the top ten today, but I was fighting hard,” said the Mexican. “We have improved the car quite a lot since Friday, but we are clearly not as quick here as we were in Belgium.
“On my last attempt in Q2 unfortunately I was driving too close behind Bruno Senna and could not improve my lap time. I lost two tenths of a second in the first sector. I didn’t want to back off to make a bigger gap because I didn’t want to compromise the warm up of my tyres.
“The tyre compounds here are quite similar and we don’t expect high degradation, but in the end, given the high temperatures, you never really know. I am very optimistic about scoring good points here in tomorrow’s race.“
“We are quite happy with the qualifying result, because we knew the Monza track characteristics would be challenging for our car,” added Kaltenborn. “However, we are in a good starting position and are looking forward to a strong race.”