A good day for the Sauber F1 team turned into the best of the year on Sunday, but not until long after the checkered flag.
Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez followed each other home at the FIA Formula 1 German Grand Prix, crossing the finish line in fifth and sixth respectively.
- Kamui Kobayashi earns season-high fourth-place finish
- Sauber scores a season-best 20 championship points
- Kobayashi moved to fourth after Vettel penalty
But a last-lap pass by Sebastien Vettel failed the race stewards’ scruitiny, earning the Red Bull Racing driver a 20-second penalty to be added to his event time. The penalty dropped him from second to fifth and moved Kobayashi into a season-high fourth place finish.
“I am very happy for the team that we have managed to get a good result again,” said Kobayashi. “We have been unlucky in the two most recent races, and also had a bad qualifying yesterday. The performance of our car, especially in the dry, is really strong. If we only had qualified better we could have achieved even more today. At the beginning of the race it was a bit difficult on the medium tires, but our strategy was good. Considering where we came from, (fourth) is an excellent result.”
Sergio Perez had an equally strong day in helping Sauber gain vital Manufacturers Championship points in its quest to run down Mercedes for a top-five berth in the standings. He came from 17th on the starting grid, hindered by a five-spot grid penalty, and gained 11 positions on his way to score his fourth top-six run of the year.
“I am so pleased for all of us that we have recovered after we had such a bad qualifying. We have shown a strong pace in the race,” Perez said. “However, my strategy was a little bit compromised because I had to do my first pit stop a bit earlier than planned. I felt something strange on the left hand side of the car - perhaps it was a puncture - but I don’t’ really know yet what it was. This obviously meant we had to extend the later stint and I ended up with quite old tires. The team did a great job today and this will give us a good boost for next week’s race in Budapest.”
Today’s performance brings both Sauber drivers into the F1 top 10, Perez standing ninth with 47 points while Kobayashi's 33-point total moved him up to 10th.
“We started from P12 and P17 and finished (fourth) and sixth<” told Team Principal Peter Sauber. “I think it’s fair to say this performance was outstanding, and it was rewarded by (20) championship points. Congratulations to the drivers who both did an excellent job, and thank you to the whole team.”