Sauber “thrilled” by Kobayashi’s passes

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Peter Sauber hailed Kamui Kobayashi’s performance in the European Grand Prix as “amazing”.

The Japanese driver claimed seventh place after pulling off two overtaking moves in the final two laps, one on Fernando Alonso.

The team owner said:

I can only think of one word for it – amazing!

I was obviously thrilled by his two overtaking moves at the end of the race, but what impressed me most was how Kamui mastered his long stint on the hard tyres.

At times he was setting some of the fastest lap times of any driver, but still managed to look after his tyres. He also drove very consistently and didn’t allow himself to be put under pressure by Jenson Button.

Signing a rookie is always something of a risk; on Sunday Kamui delivered confirmation that we made the right decision.
Peter Sauber

The team believe they are starting to make progress with their C29 which has fluctuated in its performance from track to track and has had several reliability problems.

Sauber added:

These kinds of lap times are only possible if both the driver and the car are quick; there’s no other way. The C29 has a huge amount of potential, but it doesn’t make it easy for our engineers and drivers to fully exploit this potential every time.

When I compare our qualifying performance in Valencia with the lap times in the race, I can’t work it out.
Peter Sauber

Technical director James Key said the team are working on improving the car’s qualifying performance after drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Kobayashi lined up 16th and 18th in Valencia.

He said:

When a driver finds himself in a competitive position like that he always finds something more in himself because he’s following quicker cars. And Kamui did a very good job.

The race also showed that the car works when it’s in the right conditions, but the question we have and we had for several of the last races is why the car is more competitive in race conditions than qualifying.

The drivers report that the car is easier to drive in the race, and tyre degradation wasn’t a problem either, so we weren’t particularly hard on the tyres. We need to look into the data, now that both drivers delivered a competitive race after a qualifying that was not up to our expectations.

We need to pin down the differences in how the car is feeling and handling and see how we can apply that to qualifying.
James Key

Sauber are last of the established teams in the championship with all their seven points scored by Kobayashi so far this year. Their Valencia score has moved them to within three points of Toro Rosso.

Read more: Strategy gamble helps Kobayashi take seventh on last lap (Sauber race review)

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Keith Collantine
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29 comments on “Sauber “thrilled” by Kobayashi’s passes”

  1. Was fun watching Kamui with the front runners and his late overtaking. I hope he doesn’t become a good overtaker but a bland racer and pic his qualifying up. Maybe a day with Truli would help get what’s missing in him :-p

  2. Great that Sauber appears to be getting it’s head above the water, New Teams Good an all that but keeping old teams is generally better for the sport than getting new ones.

    An they appear to have picked up sponsership at last, an their facillities are apparently super fantastic so that money will go somewhere usefull. Hopefully the team picks itself up properly for next season and starts operating at least closer to potential. The C29 does qualify in Q3 on merit on occasion so it can’t be a total dog, all speed and luck to them.

  3. I wondered what the fuss about Kobayashi was about. I had to miss the last few laps of the race. Now I know!

  4. Kamui Kobayashi is a greast passer…

  5. All the promises that Kobayashi did in the last two races of 2009 he kept them in the European GP in 2010.All now the Sauber can do is to improve their 2010 car as much as they can & hope they qualify better in the race cause that is one place they are struggling.

  6. It really makes me wonder how he would be if plopped in a competitive car. I’d like to see him break the old Japanese-drivers-are-mediocre-to-poor habit seen in F1 for so many years. I do think he has great potential if given the right equipment.

    1. I think he’s quite similar to Sato, most the time is pretty nondescript and crashes a lot, but has an occasional awesome race.

  7. Forget Kubica or Kimi, put Kobayashi in the Ferrari or Red Bull!

    1. Oh yes ! Just imagine Kobayashi in the RB6….wow ! He’d certainly give a certain Mr Vettel something to think about.

      Just watch how hard he and De La Rosa have to work in qualifying to get that C29 pointing in even approximately the right direction. Then imagine Kobayashi in the RB6. I reckon if he hit pole in any qualifying in a car as good as the RB6 and he’d simply be uncatchable.

      It’s unlikely ever to happen, but I think Kobayashi could change the worlds image of Japanese F1 drivers forever, if only he could get his hands on the wheel of a top car.

      1. “He’d certainly give a certain Mr Vettel something to think about.”

        Like how to overtake without this happening:

  8. Kamui Kazi ! …in a good way.

    Hes not really all that but what he is, is his own man, hes no robot, not some sort of Coulthard drone who reads a manual on how to overtake before trying it. Need more of this sort of maverick.

  9. Good to see Kobayashi getting back to the form that he had for Toyota in the last two races of last season. He could be a real star of the future if Sauber improve.

  10. I’d like to see him at Merc or Renault. That would be nice, wouldn’t it? I must however say he is more like young Massa than Sato, although Kobayashi’s overtaking manuever on Alonso reminded me of Sato on Alonso in the Not-So-Super-Duper Super Aguri at Canada.

    1. Speed-wise, perhaps more on par with Massa than Sato, but Massa has never shown himself to be particularly good, unlike Kobayashi-san.

      Perhaps a Raikkonen?

  11. Well he hasn’t had any real opportunity this season to show his ability. Of his early season crashes, only one or 2 were actually his fault, the rest was just someone taking him out. The also reliability. I’ve been a fan of Sauber for a while, though not necessarily always. I believe they were hard done by Mercedes when Mclaren got the engines for 95, But Mclaren’s performance that year actually showed how deficient that engine really was.

  12. Kobayashi is the only racing driver in the field. The rest of just overpayed taxi drivers.

    1. i beg to differ

  13. wow all of a sudden Kobayashi the greatest driver ever existed
    you kidding guys don’t you? or just because he passed alonso with fresh tyres

    2010 Kobayashi performance

    gp date grid position

    Bahrain 03/14/10 16 Ret
    Australian 03/28/10 16 Ret
    Malaysian 04/04/10 9 Ret
    Chinese 04/18/10 15 Ret
    Spanish 05/09/10 10 12
    Monaco 05/16/10 16 Ret
    Turkish 05/30/10 10 10
    Canadian 06/13/10 18 Ret
    European 06/27/10 18 7

    nine races 6 retirements
    hardly a hero in silverstone he will retire again nobody will remember him

  14. Interesting thought – Kobi’s strategy of going very long and then pitting very late for softs might pave the way for the back markers to do exactly this in future races, as he has shown it works. Jump everyone, get track position (especially when there is a safety car), it’s hard to overtake so you’ll probably stay there for a while, then pit for the softer tyre towards the end of the race when the track is rubbered in and everyone else is on worn hard tyres. Low fuel, great tyres = late race overtakes!

    1. Backmarkers on worn out tyres for most of the race?!? Why dont we just put speed breakers and signals on the race track?

    2. “Low fuel, great tyres…..”, and 20 laps down. :-)
      The safety car played a part in this result. What is worth considering is that he only came back out one place ahead of his team mate. On a different track he might have found himself further up the field or further back.

    3. Reminds me of Fisi when he was at, funnily enough, Sauber-Ferrari, going for very long first stints. Of course, back then the key variable is fuel, while now it’s tyres (and the utterly silly tyre rule)

  15. Kamui did a fantastic job. I am quite surprised that Jenson could not get past him though and that worries me…

    1. Being a Jenson fan, this worries me also, and angered me during the race.

      Jenson, he later admitted, was considering a pass, got the speed info from the team, knew Kamui was going to pit eventually (but didn’t know when) and decided to wait for the stop and ultimately confined himself to cruising to 3rd place.

      Instead of overtaking Kamui, keeping speed with the leaders, overtaking Hamilton during the penalty, keeping Hamilton behind (no easy feat, but he has done it before) and taking a fighting 2nd.

      I’m worried about Jenson.

  16. Kobayashi was in P16 and 30 seconds down after 10 laps. That he jumps to P3 on account of the safty car doesn’t really make him a spectacular driver. Even Piquet could do that in Germany.

    His overtakes were nice though. Albeit that his fresh tyres probably made him 2 or 3 seconds a lap faster than Alonso and Buemi.

  17. Now hang on – I loved his work at Valencia too, but he’s still far too erratic to be considered a great driver yet. Feisty, aggressive, happy – all the qualities you want, just lacking some polish. Regarding the rest of the field, a few of you seem to be mixing up boredom and caution with level-headedness. For myself, I’m going to reserve my opinion on Koby until the end of the season.

    1. bernification
      2nd July 2010, 9:26


      Whilst some praised his performance at Brazil last year, I just saw an erratic hothead with scant regard for the rules.
      Yes, it may have been entertaining, but he didn’t particularly show a lot of respect for his rivals.

  18. he is erratic, he is a hothead and he doesnt always respect his opponents and they are all good things! we’ve got plenty of drones who can lap within .0001 second of their lap times. Gilles Villeneuve isnt remembered so much because he won lots of world championships, he won none or the amount of races he won, he won less than he should’ve. hes remembered because his driving showed verve and he took chances.

    Kobayashi is nowhere near Villenueve’s class but hes a refreshing some races.

  19. I think Kobayashi will be replacing Massa in Ferrari soon. Fast Fred and Ko would make a colorful pair.
    Massa is old news already

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