Kobayashi: Amazing feeling
Sauber driver delighted to take his first podium finish on home soil
By William Esler. Last Updated: 07/10/12 1:17pm
Kamui Kobayashi made no attempt to disguise his ecstasy after claiming his first F1 podium finish in front of his home crowd at the Japanese GP on Sunday.
Having qualified third courtesy of Jenson Button's grid penalty, the Sauber driver made a great start to leap ahead of Mark Webber and onto the tail of Sebastian Vettel in the second Red Bull.
Ultimately, Felipe Massa had the pace in his Ferrari to get the jump on Kobayashi for second place during the pit-stops, but the Japanese driver was nevertheless still delighted with his career-best result.
"It is fantastic, an amazing race," he told Sky Sports F1. "To get my first podium here in Japan, in front of a lot of proud Japanese fans was amazing.
"I had really good pace overall, I wouldn't say brilliant as we are not best of the best, but for our car I think it was pretty good pace. The last stint was pretty hard to hold off Jenson. But I said to myself, 'push really hard to not make a mistake and maybe gain one or two tenths' and to hold Jenson off to the chequered flag was fantastic."
It was an especially timely result for Kobayashi given that his future in the sport is far from secure when his current deal expires at the end of the season.
Asked if he was driving for his career, the 26-year-old said: "Yes, of course. Maybe I need not fear the pressure and enjoy it.
"When I have pressure I am always good. Maybe I need every time some pressure."