Kobayashi hailed as hero of Japanese GP
11 October, 2010
Oct.11 (GMM) Kamui Kobayashi was the hero of Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix, enhancing his growing reputation as the launcher of kamikaze overtaking moves. To the delight of his Japanese fans, the Sauber rookie scythed through the field from fourteenth on the grid to seventh at the finish.
“The way he overtook several competitors was absolutely spectacular,” said team CEO Monisha Kaltenborn, standing in as team boss in Japan for the absent Peter Sauber.
The 24-year-old launched audacious moves on Adrian Sutil, Rubens Barrichello and Jaime Alguersuari, but teammate Nick Heidfeld was dispensed rather more easily.
“The team asked me not to make any problems for him,” the German is quoted by Swiss newspaper Blick.
The paper’s veteran correspondent Roger Benoit asked Kobayashi precisely how many overtaking moves he attempted at Suzuka on Sunday.
“I can’t remember,” he answered. “I only know that there were crashes all around me at the start, and later I made some contacts with my opponents. My car is rather damaged!”
Kobayashi who made his debut at the Brazilian GP in 2009 said, “I tried my best and I am very happy. It was a great race for our team, and I’m very pleased for the Japanese fans who have watched an exciting race.”
He praised his team for their efforts, “It is the second time we have got both cars in the points, and for me it was really something to come back here and race for the first time after seven years in front of my home crowd. I really want to thank the team for the great job and the fans for their fantastic support.””
“Nevertheless it was a very tough race today. Qualifying and the race in the space of only a few hours made it quite a busy and unusual Sunday,” added Kobayashi.
Team manager Beat Zehnder explained: “Some deflectors are missing from the car, and the sidepod has a big hole in it. Also a part of the front wing isn’t there any more.”
Renault’s Robert Kubica retired from the race after five minutes with a missing wheel and said: “What Kamui did with his car was super. Because I had to watch on television, he saved my day.”