Japanese GP: Sauber qualifying report

Weather: sunny and dry, 25-26o.C Air, 26-28o.C Track In the postponed qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, held on Sunday morning in Suzuka, both drivers were close to making it into the top ten session. But Nick Heidfeld was kicked out of...

Weather: sunny and dry, 25-26o.C Air, 26-28o.C Track

In the postponed qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, held on Sunday morning in Suzuka, both drivers were close to making it into the top ten session. But Nick Heidfeld was kicked out of the top ten in the very last second and qualified 11th. Kamui Kobayashi had also shown a lot of improvement on his final flying lap, but then made a mistake in the very last corner and had to settle for his previous best lap time which means 14th fastest.

Nick Heidfeld: C29.03 / Ferrari 056
Qualifying: 11th / 1:32.187 min (in Q2)

"I was obviously very close to making it into the top ten - literally in the last second Michael (Schumacher) went faster and kicked me out of Q3. In Q1 I had some problems with traffic on the track, but on my last run in Q2 I had a clear lap. I am still busy learning how to drive with these tyres, and especially finding out how to get the most out of the softer compound which we used in Q2 but not a lot before here in Suzuka. I really have to concentrate on this when I leave the garage on 'Option' tyres, as it is not automatic yet. However, I keep learning and I changed my driving style after the Singapore weekend. The fact that on my car we are tight on engines and they have significant mileage doesn't really help either."

Kamui Kobayashi: C29.04 / Ferrari 056
Qualifying: 14th / 1:32.427 min (in Q2)

"Until the very last corner I was good enough for Q3, but then I made a mistake and I feel sorry about that. My car was good, and the balance and set-up seemed alright to me, although I didn't have much running on the circuit. I really enjoy every single lap, and it is just great to drive in front of my home crowd. The tyre strategy for the race is quite tricky because the grip level of the track is now changing a lot. After the heavy rain the track only got some rubber down on it today. Let's see what we can do, of course it would be great for me and the team to score points today."

James Key, Technical Director:

"This is an eventful day with qualifying and the race on the same day. We came in not knowing whether the work we had done after Friday was enough, or in the right direction to address some of the balance issues we had. There was a lot of pressure on everyone to go out straightaway and qualify. We went out with both cars on prime tyres for four timed laps to give them a feel for everything. Both drivers reported the car felt a little bit better. We stuck to the prime for the second run and made it to Q2 fairly comfortably. We were then targeting Q3, and it was very close. It was a great shame for Nick who was tenth until almost the end when he got kicked out by Michael Schumacher by just a tenth of a second. Kamui was looking pretty good for Q3, but sadly on his final lap he made a mistake in the chicane, which cost him the time he needed. It's a bit frustrating not to make it to Q3 because it was clearly possible today, but equally it was a good job by the team to rectify the problems we had on Friday."

-source: sauber

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Nick Heidfeld , Kamui Kobayashi
Teams Ferrari , Sauber