Another double points finish for Sauber
18 March 2012 – Sauber is celebrating a double points finish in Australia for the second year in a row, although the Swiss team is not expected to be disqualified for rear wing irregularities on this occasion. A usually aggressive drive for Kamui Kobayashi ended in sixth place, with Sergio Pérez using an unorthodox strategy to seal eighth.
“I am very happy – for the team and myself,” said Kobayashi, whose race featured a pass on 2007 Champion Kimi Räikkönen around the outside of Turn 3. “Finishing sixth is a great start to the season. After the start I nearly crashed into Bruno (Senna), who spun in front of me. I was lucky to avoid hitting him, but at the same time Sergio could not avoid touching me and then I had to do the whole race with a damaged rear wing; this was very difficult and, for sure, cost car performance.
“However, after the first lap I had improved two positions. I was on a two-stop strategy, with two sets of Softs in the beginning and the Medium compound for the last stint. With my second pit-stop I had bad luck with the timing because the Safety Car came out just after I had pitted. Then I was running in ninth position until the final lap when Pastor (Maldonado) crashed and Sergio had a battle with Nico (Rosberg). I went passed and finished sixth.”
Pérez was one of three drivers to start on the Medium compound tyre, making best use of a different race plan for the second consecutive Australian Grand Prix.
“After I had to start last on the grid because of changing the gearbox, I knew I had to try everything to gain positions right after the start,” the Mexican recalled. “I managed to get into 12th behind Kamui and touched his car while he had to avoid crashing into the Williams car in front of him. My front wing was then damaged and this was only one of the difficulties I had today during the race.
“I also had to save tyres, also for some time fuel, and I had to fight to defend my position. It really was a tough race for me. Then on the very last lap Pastor (Maldonado) crashed and I backed off because of the debris. But then Nico (Rosberg) overtook me, our cars touched and I had to finish the race with tyres that were completely gone. Of course I’m not happy to have lost my position on the final lap, but I am very happy for the team because finishing sixth and eight is a good start to the season.”