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Peter Sauber has hailed Kamui Kobayashi and has said the Japanese driver has ‘progressed wonderfully’ well this year - his first full-season at the pinnacle of the sport, after making his debut at the end of 2009 with Toyota.
Kobayashi was arguably one of the drivers’ of the season and despite his inexperience he notched up 32 points in the Ferrari-powered Sauber C29, as well as pulling off a number of very memorable overtaking manoeuvres.
“Kamui inspires us all within the team. His refreshing, attacking style really puts a smile on your face. You can tell from reactions in the stands that the F1 fans love him too; his overtaking moves are always great to watch,” Sauber said.
“However, it would be doing him an injustice to only focus on this aspect of his driving. Kamui is also a very clever driver and understands how to put a pre-defined strategy into action. He’s progressed wonderfully well this year and I’m certain that there’s more to come from him in the future.
“When I signed him a year ago, I had to put up with critical comments from some experts. But my gut feeling told me that Kamui was something special. And today I’m just delighted to have him in the team.”
Kobyashi will be paired with rookie Sergio Pérez in 2011 and while some have suggested this is a bit of a gamble, Sauber isn’t concerned.
“I’m confident that we’re going into next year in good shape from a driver point of view. Kamui has made big steps forward this year and I have no doubt that he will continue to grow with his new responsibility.
“Sergio is also brimming with talent. For him, it’s a question of learning quickly. Here, he can pick things up from Kamui in the same way that Kamui did from Pedro [de la Rosa] and Nick [Heidfeld].
“Plus, it’s worth remembering that 2001 was one of the most successful years to date for Sauber – and that season we had a rookie by the name of Kimi Räikkönen alongside Nick, who was in only his second year in Formula 1, as our drivers,” Sauber added.
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