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Belgian GP: Great performance from Sauber drivers Perez and Kobayashi


By Berthold Bouman

Kamui Kobayashi was the hero of the Sauber team today during practice for the Belgian Grand Prix at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit, as he will leave from second spot on the grid tomorrow. Kobayashi missed the pole by just 0.298s this afternoon, but it was nevertheless a great performance from the Japanese driver.

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber

Kobayashi was actually surprised with second place, “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.”

Kobayashi already had said ahead of the Grand Prix he wanted to improve his qualifying performance, and it seems he and his mechanics were successful. After a dry third and final practice session this morning, Kobayashi gained confidence, “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.”

Asked about his goal for tomorrow’s race he was adamant, “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.”

His team colleague Sergio Perez will leave from fifth place on the grid, he too was a bit surprised by Sauber’s qualifying pace. “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!”

Sauber CEO Monisha Kaltenborn was certainly satisfied with what she considers to be Sauber’s best qualifying performance of the season, “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.”

And she added, “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.”

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