Kobayashi: I backed off on final lap
6 October 2012 – Kamui Kobayashi is adamant that he does not deserve a penalty after qualifying at Suzuka. The local favourite was delighted with his performance, managing third on the grid for his home Grand Prix; in fact, the Sauber driver had been fourth on the timesheets but moves up to third because of Jenson Button’s gearbox penalty.
Immediately after qualifying, some onlookers felt that Kobayashi should receive a penalty for posting his best lap time after Kimi Räikkönen had spun off at Spoon Curve. However, like team-mate Sergio Pérez, Fernando Alonso and Nico Hülkenberg, the Japanese driver had elected for only one run at the end of Q3.
“I am happy because I think I achieved the maximum possible today,” he smiled. “On my last lap I lost a bit of time because of the yellow flag, when I backed off and switched off the DRS.
“I want to thank the team for the big step forward they have managed with the car since Friday. In the beginning we were struggling with the new parts but now we have got it right. After quite a few changes to the settings, the car is fast again. From where I am starting I should have a chance to fight for a podium finish and it would be a dream come true if I could achieve my first podium in Formula 1 in front of my home crowd.”
He added that he first needs to enjoy a clean start, unlike in Belgium when he started second on the grid but was taken out at the first corner by Romain Grosjean.