Saturday’s Belgian Grand Prix qualifying proved disastrous for the Sauber duo of Kamui Kobayashi and Pedro de la Rosa, after both drivers crashed in Q1.
The former will start in nineteenth position for tomorrow’s race after being caught out on the wet track at turn eight. Meanwhile the latter starts twenty-second after losing the rear of his car at turn fourteen.
Both drivers will now be hoping for rain to assist their recovery through the pack.
Kamui Kobayashi, 19th: It’s a real shame. At the beginning of Q1 when it was dry the car was good, but after the session had been red flagged there wasn’t enough time to put in a timed lap before the rain set in. That was the same for everybody. When the rain stopped we went out first on intermediate tyres and then we made a mistake when we changed to slicks. To be on the safe side we should have continued with intermediates. The first corners were fine on the soft option tyres, but before the hairpin, turn eight, the track was much wetter than I expected and I went into the gravel trap. I was able to get out and the car was not damaged, but obviously the session was over.
Pedro de la Rosa, 22nd: I am absolutely disappointed with this result. The car was really good and in terms of performance I’m sure we were in a position to fight for Q3. After the short rain shower it was very difficult to judge the conditions on the different parts of that seven kilometers circuit. The track was drying and it was a problem to know what you would find in which corner. We opted for the wrong tyre choice, as it was definitely too optimistic to go for slicks, and I made a mistake when I lost the rear end of the car before turn 14. I overestimated the track conditions there and crashed into the barrier. It is a terrible result.
Peter Sauber, team principal: In the first three practice sessions things looked very good for us and we had reasons to be optimistic, but then in qualifying both drivers went off on slicks on their out laps. It’s a shame.
James Key, technical director: Obviously for us a very disappointing qualifying, but equally it was a very difficult session. In the beginning we knew there was rain coming, so we went out early with the rest of the pack. It was really just a case of putting in a banker, but then the red flag stopped it. In the end with the drying track we decided to go out on the intermediate tyres and do three timed laps. The track was drying very quickly, and other cars went on dry tyres, so we decided also to change to slicks. But the track conditions were tricky and both our drivers had an off on their out laps, which stopped them from completing these laps.
It’s a shame, but a situation like this is always difficult to judge. Now we have to go back and reflect on what happened and make sure next time we do better. Tomorrow we just have to see how we can best recover from the situation.