It would have been such a good story. If ever there would have been a case of picking up where the team had left off, the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix would have been it. Sauber’s final points of the 2020 season had been in Imola, and for a long time the team thought that the first points of 2021 would come in the same venue (thankfully a lot earlier in the season than last year).
It was a good recovery after yesterday and to take points from P16 on the grid would have been a great story. The conditions were very tricky, the track was slippery and it never fully dried up – it was so easy to make a mistake. We made a good start but couldn’t see anything in the spray; we did ok on the inters, they came back at the end of the stint but at that point, the track was dry enough for slicks.
We struggled a bit more after the red flag, but we were able to use the track layout to our advantage and keep everyone else behind to finish in P9. Unfortunately, we then got this penalty that means we don’t get anything to show for it, but at least we can look positively at our performance. We have been fighting for the points two races in a row, hopefully, we can keep improving even more.
We were having a fantastic race until our issue and it was a matter of finally being able to show our true race potential. The conditions at the beginning of the race were very difficult, they reminded me of Hockenheim 2019 with very poor visibility. Kimi and I were both running in the points and to finish with both cars in the top ten were definitely on the cards, but unfortunately, we had a technical issue with one of the brakes that required a pit stop.
I focus on the positives: we have a good car and we can fight for a top ten finish in most races. Hopefully, luck will be more on our side in the future and we can get the rewards we deserve.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
Once again we demonstrated we have a car that can fight for points on a Sunday, even though we are left to rue not bringing home what would have been a very positive result. The conditions weren’t easy and we did a good job as a team to be in the fight. Kimi needed all his experience to keep his rivals behind at the end of the race, while it was obviously very disappointing that a technical problem got Antonio out of a very good position when we were looking at having two cars in the top ten. This issue, and the penalty that took away our two points, aside, today’s result gives us confidence for the next races, although it was another reminder of how small the margins are in the midfield and how we have to keep improving to keep ahead of the nearest rivals.
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