Kobayashi made an unsuccessful attempt to do half the race distance on a set of super-softs.
|Kamui Kobayashi||Sergio Perez|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q2)||1’22.435 (+0.278)||1’22.157|
Sauber drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
Kobayashi said he felt the car had improved between practice and qualifying but missed out on Q3.
He rose from 13th to tenth at the start and was the only driver to switch to soft tyres at his first stop. He spent the next stint holding off Rubens Barrichello, Vitaly Petrov and the two Toro Rossos.
Kobayashi dropped behind them when he finally pitted again on lap 34, taking on a set of super-softs.
But he climbed back up the order, staying out as the rain came down: “When the second lot of rain came the team briefly thought about calling me to the pits to pick up intermediate tyres but I didn’t want to because I found the track was improving,” he said.
By now Kobayashi had the remaining points scorers queued up behind him, and 12th-placed Vitaly Petrov so far back he could easily pit and come out in front of the Renault.
This appears to have been why the team left him out in the hope that his tyres might last (for what would have been 36 laps) and he could score some points. But it didn’t work out that way.
First Paul di Resta came by on lap 60. Two laps later Sebastien Buemi took him at the first corner. The other Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari clattered into the Sauber, spinning off and damaging Kobayashi’s rear wing end plate.
Only after Nico Rosberg and Alguersuari had relegated him from the top ten did the team finally bring him in. he duly emerged in 11th, right in front of Petrov, but with too few laps left and too much time to make up to score any points.
Made his second appearance in Q3 and, once again, didn’t set a time having reached the final ten. But unlike at Monaco, where he had his dreadful crash, this time the decision was tactical to save tyres.
But he didn’t stay there long – he lost ten places on the first lap: “I had no grip at all and hardly managed to keep the car on track,” he said.
“I went wide at one corner and lost a lot of positions. I actually dropped back from 10th on the grid to 20th.
“At that time I was slower than the slowest cars and I hope we find the reason why this was so extreme.”
Perez made matters worse for himself by passing Heikki Kovalainen under waved yellow flags – though he was able to stay ahead of Lotus even after taking his penalty.
Braving the late rain shower without stopping for intermediates allowed him to take a place off Pastor Maldonado, but he finished in 15th behind Adrian Sutil.
2011 Hungarian Grand Prix
Image © Sauber F1 Team