Kobayashi: Podium proves I'm an F1 driver
8 October 2012 – Kamui Kobayashi believes his Formula 1 career will now be viewed in a different light, having finished on the podium in his home Grand Prix. The Sauber driver has been racing with the team since the start of 2010 but actually made his debut with Toyota for the last two races of the previous season.
Ironically, Kobayashi’s debut came following a crash at Suzuka which injured Timo Glock and took the German out of action for the 2009 Brazilian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix, in which the Japanese driver impressed by fighting new World Champion Jenson Button. Before Sunday, his previous best finishing position had been fourth place in this year’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.
“Last night there was a party with fans at Suzuka and this morning I went straight back to Suzuka because there was another event organised with more than 5,000 fans,” Kobayashi says on Monday. “In every respect it was a very intense weekend.
“I’ve always felt that, if you ever want to look back and regard yourself as a Formula 1 driver, you have to have been on the podium at least once. Without such a photo it’s a bit as if you had never been there, so it means a lot to me.”
Summing up his thoughts as he crossed the finish line, having kept the place from Button’s McLaren by just half a second, Kobayashi continued:
“I instantly relaxed when all the pressure came off. Without doubt, it was a very important race for me in my career and I felt, ‘Yes! Now we will be having more strong races and really go for fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship.’”
In the said teams’ league table, Sauber now sits just 20 points behind the Mercedes-Benz factory outfit with five races still to go.