Chinese GP - Qualifying
For the first time this year the Sauber F1 Team did not get a car into Q3, which is disappointing. Qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix turned out to be very unusual with the lap times of the first 17 cars in Q1 covered by three tenths of a second, and then a red flag interrupting Q2 shortly before the end. Sergio Pérez qualified 12th on the Shanghai International Circuit and Kamui Kobayashi was 13th.
Weather: significantly cooler but still dry, 15°C air, 22-25°C track
“Generally we made some changes to the car and I feel much more comfortable with the handling now. This explains the improvements here in Shanghai from Friday to today, but also the comparison to Malaysia. Q1 was fine for me and then in Q2 the team did a good job getting me out at the front of the queue after the red flag, but then we had to wait a while and the tyre temperatures cooled down. It is a shame because I think the changes we did for the final run would have paid off.”
“It is a shame not to be in Q3 for the first time this year. In Q1 it was really tight for me after I was stuck in traffic, and then was the last car to slip through into Q2. Then in Q2 I had a problem with the first set of soft tyres. I just didn’t have enough grip, and we have to find out why this was. On the second run I couldn’t make the best use of the other set because, after the red flag, we had to queue at the pit lane exit and the temperatures dropped. Also with all the traffic obviously I didn’t have the best chance to set a quick lap time. However, I believe points are still within reach as our overall performance is good.”
James Key, Technical Director:
“In general the third free practice went fine. The set up changes made over night improved the car and both drivers were much happier. However, qualifying was pretty eventful. Q1 was okay, but incredibly tight. Sergio’s laps were okay with him doing two runs, one on hard and one on soft tyres, while Kamui just did a single run. There was something like two tenths from eighth to 17th and, while Kamui‘s lap was absolutely fine, it turned out to be a little bit too tight for the border to Q2.
From where we are I still think we can score points
We felt we had the pace and the car to get to Q3, but Q2 was a bit of a drama with Vitaly Petrov stopping. The first laps didn’t come in particularly well, so we had to go again after the red flag. This was very tight because of the traffic and it was a bit tricky trying to get the tyres to warm up in those conditions. From where we are I still think we can score points, and it is a little bit of a topsy turvy grid so it will be an interesting race.”