Sauber suffered a difficult afternoon in Korea today. Kamui Kobayashi, the hero from last weekend, was involved in a first lap incident that effectively ruined any chance he had of scoring points. Sergio Perez meanwhile was unlucky just to miss out on points and finished eleventh.
Kobayashi made an error under braking on the first lap and clattered into Jenson Button, who he had fought off to claim his first podium finish just one week ago in Japan. He was able to pit for repairs, but was later given a drive through penalty for causing a collision before the team elected to withdraw his car from the race.
“This is a race to forget. Initially I had a good start but then we were four cars side by side approaching turn three. I had Nico [Rosberg] to the right and Jenson [Button] and Sergio on my left hand side. Someone hit my rear tyre and then it was impossible to control the car, but I had to brake at some point. I didn’t manage to avoid the accident, and I feel very sorry for ruining someone else’s race, and certainly this was not my intention. It was just a very difficult moment and I had nowhere to go but I think it was my mistake. I pitted for repairs but my car had too much damage to finish the race so we had to give up after 17 laps,” the apologetic Sauber man said.
Perez was also lucky to survive contact on the opening lap, and came close to beating the man he is replacing at McLaren next year to the final points position. Ultimately he just came up short.
“It is a big shame that we didn’t score points today. My first stint was really good, despite a little understeer which came from the incident after the start when I damaged the front of the car. But our plan was good and the strategy seemed to work out. Then unfortunately we had a problem at the pit stop and could not recover from it. This was when we lost the race because I dropped behind a group of cars,” he explained.
“Nevertheless towards the end it again looked like there was a chance of scoring a point. My car was quick, I overtook Paul [di Resta] and Lewis [Hamilton] had a problem. But in the end I just didn’t manage to catch him. Today, I think sixth would have been what we could have done in perfect circumstance.”
“This was a disappointing race for us, after we had been able to improve constantly during the weekend. Kamui’s race was ruined after just a few corners, and Sergio was unlucky at his first pit stop when he lost time due to a malfunction of the pit system. It’s a real shame because he drove a great race and finally only missed the last point by a few tenths of a second,” Monisha Kaltenborn concluded.