The 2012 European Grand Prix at the Valencia street circuit was a thriller with action from the first to last lap. Sauber F1 Team driver Kamui Kobayashi made a fantastic start, was racing in fourth for the first quarter of the race before it all went wrong for him and he finally retired after 34 laps. Meanwhile his team mate, Sergio Pérez, fought his way through from 15th on the grid to finish ninth. He was on a two stop strategy with a 32 lap long final stint on a set of soft tyres.
Sergio Pérez: 9th
Sauber C31-Ferrari (Chassis 02/Ferrari 056)
Start on new medium tyres, after 10 laps change to used soft tyres, after 25 laps change to new soft tyres.
“It was a difficult race today. We risked quite a lot with our strategy and in the end the tyre degradation was huge. You can say two points are not a bad result if you’ve came from 15th on the grid, but the most important thing now is to improve our qualifying performance. I was 15th on the grid for the second consecutive race and there is a lot more to achieve if I could only start further up the grid.“
Kamui Kobayashi: DNF, accident on lap 34
Sauber C31-Ferrari (Chassis 01/Ferrari 056)
Start on used soft tyres, after 14 laps change to used soft tyres, after 20 laps change to new medium tyres.
“What a race today, however, I am very disappointed. I definitely had a good start from seventh. I made up two positions straight away and then overtook Pastor Maldonado on lap one. I was fourth and it looked promising. Then at my first pit stop after 14 laps we had a problem with the front left wheel. After that I was 11th and still had a good chance. On lap 20 I was following Kimi Räikkönen, who was overtaking Bruno Senna, and then was on the inside next to Senna. I had the wall and nowhere to go when we touched. I had to pit for a nose change. Later, when the race was restarted after the safety car period, I was fighting with Felipe Massa for position. Our cars touched and this time the damage was too bad to continue.“
From my perspective it was a race of missed opportunities.
Peter Sauber, Team Principal:
“From my perspective it was a race of missed opportunities. Things went against us today, and in the end we had to be satisfied with getting just the two points Sergio scored. Kamui was unlucky when he was hit by Bruno Senna. He couldn’t benefit from his great qualifying performance.”
Giampaolo Dall’Ara, Head of Track Engineering:
“Kamui made a brilliant start, had a great first lap and moved up to fourth, so things were really looking good for him. But then at the first pit stop we lost time with the front left wheel. As a result, Kimi Räikkönen was able to overtake him in the pits, and Fernando Alonso was also able to pass him. Then he was hit by Bruno Senna and had to pit again. It was at an unlucky moment because the safety car came out just a few laps later, and then he had a racing incident with Felipe Massa so had to stop due to the damage on the car. Sergio started on the medium tyres, and in the beginning he was stuck behind Senna. Therefore we opted for an early pit stop after lap ten to get him out of traffic. However, the second set of tyres, softs now, started to degrade earlier than expected, so we had to pit him again on lap 25. But he was unlucky with the safety car which came out just three laps later. The plan was then to go to the end on the soft tyres, knowing this was ambitious, but in the end with the old tyres he couldn’t defend against Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber. All in all it was a very difficult race.”
Sauber Motorsport Media