Kobayashi Predicting Tight Qualifying Battle At Suzuka

Kamui Kobayashi thinks it’s too early to predict where Sauber lie in terms of pace after Friday Practice at Suzuka. The home favourite was thirteenth this afternoon, 1.5s down on pacesetter Mark Webber, and expects be more competitive tomorrow as he chases a place in Q3.

“It is a fantastic feeling to drive here in Suzuka again after one year. It is such a great circuit, and every single lap is exciting. We have a couple of updates to the car and today’s job is to fully understand how the new parts work. The lap times seem to be pretty close here, which means it is too early to judge on the performance, but I feel we can improve the balance and the set up.“

Teammate Sergio Perez was fractionally quicker in twelfth place today and agrees with Kobayashi that the C31 should be faster tomorrow.

“It has been a good first day in terms of getting all the work done. But we have to improve our speed and I think we can do this. I also ran wide on my fastest lap, so I know there is more to come and we will be in a better shape tomorrow.“

Head of Track Engineering Giampaolo Dall’Ara was pleased to get through the programme set at the start of the day and feels there is plenty to work on ahead of qualifying.

“It was good to have a trouble free day and to complete the entire programme in relation to the new parts. We had no hiccups or reliability issues. However, there is still a lot to learn and we will be evaluating the data now.”