Irrepressible Kobayashi stars in first home race (Sauber race review)

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Kamui Kobayashi was in great form at his first home race.

He passed a string of cars with some astonishing late-braking moves to score points for the sixth time this year.

With Nick Heidfeld finishing behind him this was also Sauber’s biggest points haul of the season.

Nick HeidfeldKamui Kobayashi
Qualifying position1114
Qualifying time comparison (Q2)1’32.187 (-0.24)1’32.427
Race position87
Average race lap1’43.716 (+0.106)1’43.611
Pit stops11

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Nick Heidfeld

Nearly scraped into Q3 but had to settle for 11th, three places ahead of his team mate.

Ran eighth at the start and finished there after being passed by Kobayashi near the end:

In the end I could have finished one place higher, but I was on a different tyre strategy to Kamui and he was obviously faster with his fresh option tyres.
Nick Heidfeld

Compare Nick Heidfeld’s form against his team mate in 2010

Kamui Kobayashi

Used exactly the same strategy as Jenson Button, starting on hard tyres and not changing them until lap 38.

He passed Jaime Alguersuari and Adrian Sutil before his pit stop, then had to take Alguersuari again once he had switched to soft tyres.

He also picked off Rubens Barrichello and finally Heidfeld to complete an impressive drive from 14th to seventh.

Had Rosberg not retired we could have seen an exciting three-way battle for sixth in the closing stages of the race. Kobayashi said:

I tried my best and I am very happy. It was a great race for our team, and I’m very pleased for the Japanese fans who have watched an exciting race.

It is the second time we have got both cars in the points, and for me it was really something to come back here and race for the first time after seven years in front of my home crowd.

Nevertheless it was a very tough race today. Qualifying and the race in the space of only a few hours made it quite a busy and unusual Sunday. After the start I saw the accidents in front of me, and I was really lucky not to be hit.

Later it was not too easy to overtake and I had some contact. The car was damaged, but it was not too severe and I was able to finish the race. I really want to thank the team for the great job and the fans for their fantastic support.??
Kamui Kobayashi

Compare Kamui Kobayashi’s form against his team mate in 2010

2010 Japanese Grand Prix

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    Image © BMW Sauber F1 Team

    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    42 comments on “Irrepressible Kobayashi stars in first home race (Sauber race review)”

    1. Kobayashi is an excellent driver…..providing us with wonderful overtaking(Brazil,Abu Dhabi, Valencia, Suzuka)!Alex Yoong(Former F1 Driver) underlined on ESPN how Kobayashi was already very good at doing the dive maneuver in GP2…and stated he was probably one of the best overtaking drivers in the current Formula 1 Roster….

      1. I was surprised every time he dived in ahead at the hairpin.. I was thinking every time “no not this lap, he’s too far back” and wooah there he goes :P some seriously good braking!

    2. Loved Kobayashi’s drive, but was cringing at EJ’s description of how much watching Kamui turned him on. Really disturbing stuff!!

      1. I didn’t hear any of that! Yikes…

      2. hahaha… yeah.. that’s disturbing funny stuff from EJ.

        If Ferrari really wants to kick massa out at the of the season; they should take kobayashi in and we can see interesting race next season.

        1. They’d just make him a #2 driver to support Alonso, I don’t want to see that. I’d love for him to get the Renault seat, though!

          1. Yeah, it would be great to see Kobi at Renault.

        2. EJ reminds me so much of Austin Powers now.

      3. I think EJ did that to complete Lee Mckenzies baptism of fire she had, poor girl, remember the first few races of 2009 everyone decided to eat Jake Humphreys alive.

        She got eaten up by everyone with all the problems on this race weekend.

      4. was it EJ or Brundle who called him Kobe Bashi? – i can’t remember. i think they were all surprised early on how well he did…

        1. The sri lankan
          12th October 2010, 23:57

          wasnt it kobesushi?

          1. ‘Kobewasabi.. cos he’s so hot’, is what I think you mean.

    3. @ KEITH

      Don’t forget to mention the following, if you haven’t already:

      “Team manager Beat Zehnder explained: “Some deflectors are missing from the car, and the sidepod has a big hole in it. Also a part of the front wing isn’t there any more.”

      “Renault’s Robert Kubica retired from the race after five minutes with a missing wheel and said: “What Kamui did with his car was super. Because I had to watch on television, he saved my day.””

      1. That’s a great endorsement from Kubica!

    4. This was another trademark solid but invisible drive from Heidfeld to points and a really impressive drive by Kamui. I see him as driver of the race.

    5. this was an awesome drive from kobayashi.. super impressed.. was impressed in his first race when i first saw him.. hope he has a ride beyond 2011.. cuz he is exciting to watch

      1. He’ll have to prove himself pretty convincingly next year. Sauber is gonna be Mexican funded (maybe even owned) with one Mexican driver already in a car and another looking to move into the team for 2012. Hopefully he can have a good season next year and get picked up by a bigger team.

    6. Didn’t he race for Toyota in Japan last year? If so, that what his first home race….?

      1. Ah he made 2x FPs but missed the race, and then race in Brazil.. make sense!

      2. Toyota wanted him to, but he didn’t run any sessions on Saturday which is a part of the rules. He did run both FP1 and FP2, though.

        His first race was at Interlagos.

    7. To me Kobayashi proved yesterday that even though it’s difficult to pass with modern aero, it’s far from impossible as long as you have big enough cojones. Brilliant, ballsy drive with overtakes in quite an unusual place. Top marks.

    8. Kamui’s overtaking move on the outside of Jaime at the hairpin was just superb!! I was really nervous that Alguesuari had fatally damaged the Sauber. Thankfuly, Kamui was able to bring home the points. Definitely the driver of the day!

    9. Very very impressive drive by Kamui yesterday…he’s trying to get some respect after the whole commotion with Telmex and the mexican drivers. Would love seeing him as Alonso’s team mate next year but Bravo!! Kamui very well done.

      1. Would love seeing him as Alonso’s team mate next year

        Smedley: “Fernando is faster than you. Do you understand?”
        Kobayashi: *shuts off radio and hits the KERS button*

        1. Haha! Brilliant!

          1. Then we would probably see 2007 all over again; Fernando chucking a hissy fit after some young kid knocks him over.

    10. Leeeeeeeroooooy Jhhhhhaaaaaaankaaaaaaaaaaans! I won’t be able to watch Kamui again without this going through my head. So glad the BBC commentary cut so we got that gem from Crofty.

    11. I told you guys so… Kamui was one of the most impressive drivers to race on the Macau Grand Prix, which I follow every year. Another one that would trully deserve a drive is Edoardo Mortara, this year’s Euro F3 Champion. He was in Gp2 and had the same performance as Kobayashi there, but Gp2 is nowhere near as close as a proving ground for F1 as F3, since teamwork, setup and relationship between chassis and engine is much closer to F1 in F3 than in GP2. THis year’s Macau GP is in the 21st of November. Looking forward to see if there’s another stand out kid coming in this new generation. Last year Mortara won and he’s coming back. But heard very good things from this year’s British F3 champion. And the japanese champion, Kunimoto, is very, very young… I remember Hakkinen vs Schumacher , Hamilton vs ROsberg, trully remarkable battles over here that gave a prelude of things to come…Kamui if given the chance can be up there with Hamilton, also Di Resta- this kid was fast.

    12. Kobayashi taught class yesterday. Pulling that insane pass on Algersuari, then lashing his palm with a ruler when the presumptuous student when he didn’t focus on the lesson.

      Kobayashi gets the Dale Earnhardt award of the race: people who tried half-*ssed blocks on him got passed and got a little autograph on the sidepod as a souvenir.

      Heidfeld was very solid. It’s a shame that he is being pushed out by Carlos Slim pesos.

    13. kobyashi continues to drive like his pants are on fire, and nick is back to his old invisible self.

    14. Not only can this kid overtake but he does it flair and style, I what mean is he’s exciting to watch!, Nick Heidfeld did some overtaking moves in the past but nothing of this magnitude.

      He reminds me of Keke Rosberg, that swashbuckling swagger of a driving style that is superb to watch.

      “I’m sorry Kamui, but your only 14th fastest”
      “bother that nonsense, I want more points!, WATCH THIS!”

      The mentalist!

    15. After his perfomance in Suzuka I wanted to know more about him (I didn’t watch F1 since 1995 until this year). I must admit he has great skills for manouvers side by side, great anticipation, a lot of talent. Better than many veterans. It is a long time since F1 has so many talented drivers (although not always in the fastest cars).
      He is definitely the future star.

    16. I see a couple of comments of people wanting to see Kamui at another team. I reckon he’d do well to stay with Sauber for a while.

      How about him cementing himself into the number one position in the team. Let him develop them car around his preferences. A couple more years and he will be even better. You don’t get a “Lewis Hamilton” every day but Kamui is a star for the future.

      Hopefully he won’t loose any of his bansai-ness!(If thats even a word.)

      1. Absolutely Spud, he kind of needs to do what Kubica is doing, go to a midfield team as the number one driver, then gather enough respect to be offered a serious position at a top team.

        Can’t wait to watch Sauber next year though.

        1. I kinda meant that he stay with Sauber for a good stint. It probably won’t happen but we’ve seen Sauber develop from a “back of the grid” team in Bahrain to a solid mid field team now. A bit of continuity for them would do no harm at all.

          But you are right, if he he keeps driving the way he’s driving now, it won’t be long before the big teams come calling.

          Good luck to him he deserves it.


    17. His outside pass at the hairpin was more exciting then his inside dives. At race end his car looked like he was in a NASCAR rubbin’ contest.

      Great driver, you can’t teach aggressiveness like that, you either have it or you don’t.

    18. There is something about the look of the Saubers that I really do like. They are not pretty but they look very pointy and javelin like, quite aggressive. I don’t know if it is the white paint job making it hard to see contours, but they just look fast. I hope this does bring a lot more sponsors.

      1. I’d reckon they might get some Japanese sponsors for next year…

    19. Lets hope that some Japanese big company man got excited over what he saw. Really it’s quite shameful how little support this kid gets. His obviously the best driver Japan ever had, they should be backing him up like crazy but they don’t. Maybe the many disappointing drivers they had until now makes them more reserved.

    20. I was dreading coming onto this blog such is the gushing from kobi fanboys but to be fair he was brilliant.

      You’re not supposed to be able to overtake under braking anymore such is the small window the cars decelerate in but he took me back to the days of Mansells balls out overtaking. He may not have Mansells inventiveness but he could yet get it.

      Hes getting a rep as an “i will pass you” driver, and just like Senna and pre comeback MS once that is in your head you’re already beaten.

      “Kobibashi” was coined by Brundlefly btw

    21. What an excellent drive once more from Kobayashi. I rate him very very highly, he had an excellent race (not for the 1st time) and provided us fans with excellent overtaking. As a Ferrari fan: please Montezemolo can you buy Kamui in place of Felipe?

    22. yeah I heard that also..kobabashi lmao….still not as bad as Louise Goodmans Martin Whittaker (Whitmarsh) lol

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