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By qualifying second on the grid at Spa, Kamui Kobayashi has become only the second Japanese driver to manage the feat – after Takuma Sato at the 2004 European Grand Prix for BAR. The Sauber man now aims for a career-first podium finish.
With Kobayashi second and Sergio Pérez fifth, Sauber were overall best qualifiers, to the particular delight of CEO and future Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn.
“We wanted to improve here because normally we struggle in qualifying and then go better in the race,” Kobayashi smiled after the session. “Yes, this is my favourite circuit, but I didn’t expect to be second! I think we now have a great opportunity for tomorrow.
“I’m always just focussed on Sunday, so this is good but I now just want to focus more on tomorrow – if we can get on the podium, then that will be good.”
The 25-year-old – who turns 26 after next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix – made a point of stressing how important tyre management will be in Sunday’s 44-lap encounter.
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