The Italian Grand Prix had a lot of ups and downs for the Sauber F1 Team. The team compromised its qualifying performance in order to maximise the race performance, and the strategy unfolded brilliantly. Sergio Perez started from 15th on the harder tyres and his one and only pit stop was still to come when he retired on lap 33 with a gearbox problem. He looked very safe in P7 and was still doing very impressive lap times with his old tyres. However, his retirement wasn't the first disappointment for the team on race day in Monza: ten laps earlier Kamui Kobayashi had also retired with a gear box problem, and been denied a great chance of scoring points.
Sergio Perez: "Despite our poor grid positions, we were doing well in the race, but then both of us retired, and that is tough. I started 15th and our race strategy was to do a very long stint on the harder tyres - the medium compound - and in the end only a short stint on the soft tyres. From lap 20 I had been in seventh. I had a gap in front and one behind, so it all looked good, but then first of all I could not use third gear and then after that couldn't shift in any gear. We missed a great opportunity to score points today."
Kamui Kobayashi: "This is, of course, disappointing for everybody. I had no power anymore no matter which gear I selected. Until then it had been quite an exciting and difficult race for me. I had a set of the new harder tyres - the medium compound - for the start and, of course, the plan was to stay out with them for a long time. Sergio proved later that this was possible, but after the accident in turn one, which involved a couple of cars, everybody tried to stop so as not to run into the accident. I touched the car which braked in front of me. Not only did my front wing come lose, but I also damaged a tyre and therefore I had to change to a set of used soft tyres. Because of this our strategy was ruined, but I was still very confident about scoring points today. It is a true shame."
Peter Sauber, Team Principal: "We deliberately put all our focus on the race, accepting that this would compromise our qualifying performance. Our performance today proved that this approach worked out perfectly. We were faster than our direct competitors. Today it would have been easy to score many points, but both our drivers were stopped by gearbox problems, Kamui on lap 23, and Sergio on lap 33. Sergio drove an excellent race and was safely in seventh at that time, and running on a one stop strategy which was perfect today. In addition, our car was as fast as expected today."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering: "As expected, our pace in the race was much better than in qualifying, and the strategy was also very good. Sergio was on a one stop strategy, drove very consistently and didn't suffer on the medium tyres in the beginning. Over 33 laps he set very respectable lap times. He was 15 seconds ahead of the competition, and we were just waiting for them to stop and then do the same. In Kamui's case we had to bring him in after his first lap incident. We then changed to a two stop strategy, using two sets of the soft tyres, which would also have worked well in his case. Unfortunately the gearbox failures stopped all our efforts."
Check out our Italian GP gallery, here.