Kamui Kobayashi grabbed a surprise fastest time right at the end of today's Jerez test, reasserting the strong impression Sauber had created at Valencia last week, where it was second only to Ferrari.
Afterward, the Japanese driver insisted Sauber could not aim for wins just yet, but that he was starting to eye podium finishes in the right circumstances. Here is what he had to say:
Q. You set a very good time at the end, was that the pace you wanted?
Kamui Kobayashi: It's very difficult to say, track conditions are always changing, and with different fuel loads... Just at the end I had a good time but it's still difficult to say where we are.
Q. But good for you to do a quick lap?
KK: This run was normal for me, for us.
Q. How was the rest of the day?
KK: It was definitely quite positive we think because we did quite good mileage and many tests, and we had quite a good day. I hope the team is happy. I'm happy because we're getting quite a lot of mileage and the track conditions were not wet. In some parts maybe the track conditions are changing and it's difficult to adapt. But we always had quite good pace and I'm quite happy with today.
Q. This morning you used slicks while it was still damp, was it hard to learn that with this car?
KK: I don't think I need to learn many things with this car, what I did last year was quite enough for me. Yesterday in the wet, I drove and we had no problems with the car. We had a problem with tires and we couldn't get mileage, but otherwise... I know the track very well here as well. This is quite a normal day for myself. We just have to work hard still.
Q. Now you've seen 10 cars on track, are you confident about your competitiveness?
KK: Yeah, definitely we have a good position at the moment, but it's still difficult to say where we are. We have to be optimistic and we have to work really hard, focus on improving our car and communicating with the team – and just wait until Bahrain.
Q. Were you running light on that last lap?
KK: I can't tell you. Not super-light!
Q. Can you fight for victories this year?
KK: I don't think so. I'm still a rookie. There are many tracks I don't know in Formula 1 so this makes quite a big difference. Even after three or four hours' practice and qualifying it's still not easy.
But possibly we have chance for me to have some podiums, but otherwise it's very important to always score points. Not tenth or ninth, always stay like fourth to eighth - this is really important for us. Then maybe if some cars crash or if there is some action, I can have a podium you know.
Q. What championship position are you aiming for this year?
KK: It's difficult to say.