Kobayashi: My first podium, in my home grand prix, that’s amazing
7 October, 2012
Oct.7 (FIA) Kamui Kobayashi scored his first Formula One podium when he finished third in his home Japanese Grand Prix in what must rate as his finest hour as an F1 driver. He spoke of his achievment in the post race press conference, here are the highlights.
You can also speak in Japanese as well today, congratulations, the first podium of your life on your home racing track. Tell us about that.
Kamui Kobayashi: English or Japanese? I think first of all, thank you very much for everyone. Everybody know this is my first podium, in Japan this is fantastic and unbelievable you know?
How much did you enjoy being on that podium at home?
KK: Well, it was a fantastic race. We really working hard to get the podium, and you know my team mate has a couple of podiums already but myself, I had a couple of chance in qualifying, I mean I had good position to start, but always I never had luck. I mean we struggle at the start. But this time, maybe it’s good to start third, it’s no front row but the feeling was good because we had a long run on Friday and that was, I think pretty good pace and we had good confidence for the rest of the week. So, I think, when I gained position to second after the start, I was pretty sure to be on the podium. But then some point I think we really struggle a lot to hold Jenson. Especially the last stint was really tough because I change quite early for hard compound tyres but I think Jenson change, I think, a couple of laps later and I think that’s what’s really challenging for us. But if we want to hold Jenson we have to do it. And finally we need to manage tyres, I mean in the last couple of laps. It was within one second and really challenging for us – but I think finally we finish in the points, on the podium and that’s fantastic. Especially in front of my home grand prix, my first podium, that’s… y’know… amazing. Before the race I was joking: a couple of times I have a chance to get podium but I have bad luck and I couldn’t get it. But maybe I get this race in podium, maybe it’s something in destiny, y’know? So I’m very happy for the fans. There’s so many people supporting us. When we look there is so much crowd around the circuit and that’s amazing. Really, thanks to all the fans. I think we need to keep going for the future.
In the closing laps, Jenson was catching you and the podium was getting closer too and your many fans were cheering you. Would you please explain how you were feeling in that situation?
KK: Well, it was a difficult moment. I think my tyre situation was quite tough. We spent more than 20 laps on them, especially in the last three laps my rear tyres were really getting bad. Of course, I needed to push, I could not slow down to save the tyres. Whatever I had, like oversteer, I had to really push. In the end, into the last lap, I was pretty sure I could hold Jenson because normally, I think, after the main straight, there is no chance to overtake on this track. Apart from that, I think getting on the podium but I was focusing on every lap because if I missed one corner, we could easily have lost my position so I think it was a good challenge for myself. And I think Jenson was pretty fast in the last stint. Finally, we survived and let’s say it was a great job from the team, because they gave us great advice while I was driving, and I was pretty sure to hold him and I was very happy. Every fan was shaking their hands at me, especially on the last lap so it was fantastic.
At the restart after the safety car, you had a pretty big gap in front of you, between Sebastian and you. What was the situation for you?
KK: Actually I was stuck in gear. It was holding in first gear, it was already on the rev limiter and I couldn’t shift up to second and I need to brake, so I was really surprised. Anyway, I couldn’t fight with Sebastian. I didn’t mind, I couldn’t hold my position. He started pretty early, before, quite far away to the safety car line, so I had enough to recover. But it was a bit of a surprise.
Subbed by AJN.