MONTREAL, June 11, 2011 (AFP) - Team chief Peter Sauber put a brave face on what has been a difficult weekend for his team on Saturday after both of his drivers survived a roller-coaster day to qualify 13th and 17th for Sunday's
Canadian Grand Prix.
Sauber had seen his Mexican rookie driver Sergio Perez declare himself unwell on Friday afternoon, his Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi crash heavily soon afterwards and then on Saturday saw his 'substitute' driver Pedro de la Rosa crash heavily at the same spot where Kobayashi hit the wall.
De la Rosa, 40, was only drafted into the team Friday afternoon as a late replacement for Perez - and raced wearing his McLaren team overalls.
Sauber said: "Kamui finished qualifying in P13, and that's the same position he had in Monaco where he was able to deliver a great result. And considering Pedro only learned yesterday, after one o'clock, that he was going to race this weekend, he did an excellent job making it into Q2."
Kobayashi, who escaped a further accident during Saturday's qualifying when he just controlled a power-slide that carried hid car within millimetres of the 'wall of champions', said: "It is a difficult weekend for us.
"After I crashed yesterday the team had to build up the spare chassis for me. I have an overall lack of grip and find it really tricky to get to the limit with the car. Nevertheless today the balance of the car improved a bit.
I could have gone a few tenths quicker on my last flying lap." De la Rosa, continuing his quick course in learning the new Sauber after joining the team ahead of second practice, was satisfied with reaching 17th.
He said: "Yesterday morning I didn't expect to sit in a racing car and this morning I actually didn't expect a lot from qualifying.
"It is not easy to familiarise yourself with the car and all the new buttons in such a short space of time. I'm quite pleased with the outcome of qualifying and I'm optimistic for the race.
"Of course, the crash I had this morning didn't help either. I lost the car and then also a bit of confidence goes. I am very happy the team managed to repair the car and I want to thank them."