Kamui Kobayashi has hailed the development work of the Sauber factory after both of the team's cars made it into the top 12 in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix.
The Swiss team had been a disappointment in the early races after showing some impressive form in winter testing, but at Barcelona it was able to get Kamui Kobayashi into Q3, with Pedro de la Rosa narrowly missing out on joining him.
"The team did a really good job – not only in qualifying but also over the last three weeks," said Kobayashi. "We have changed the direction for the car's development and as a reward we made it for the second time this season to Q3. I already knew from the morning session that my pace here was good enough for Q3. The performance of the car is a lot better, we have aero updates and also an engine upgrade for reliability."
Sauber's new technical director James Key added that the team was unsure of how competitive it would be with its updates, but was pleased with the results so far.
"We weren't sure how far we could push forward in qualifying, but I think after Q1 we realised we had a good chance of doing well," said Key. "The updates worked, which was very much a team effort, and we can be very proud of the step we made."
A slightly disappointed de la Rosa added: "Obviously, it was possible to get into Q3 – I don't really understand what went wrong. However, the positive thing is we made a big step forward since the Chinese Grand Prix, and we are a lot more competitive."