• Chinese Grand Prix - Qualifying

Kobayashi targets Mercedes pair

ESPNF1 Staff
April 14, 2012 « Rosberg celebrates 'perfect lap' | Schumacher surprised by gap to Rosberg »
Kamui Kobayashi will start third after Lewis Hamilton's grid penalty © Getty Images

Kamui Kobayashi admitted that his qualifying performance for the Chinese Grand Prix was unexpected and said his target would be to beat Mercedes.

A fantastic late lap from Kobayashi left him fourth at the end of qualifying, but with Lewis Hamilton taking a five-place grid penalty he will start in third place behind Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher. Though Rosberg was over half a second clear of the field, the Mercedes race pace has not been strong so far this season and while Kobayashi admitted third place was a surprise he said he would aim to beat the two cars ahead of him in the race.

"It was great, the team had a really great car and myself I was very happy for this week," Kobayashi told the BBC. "P3 is more than enough, we did not expect that, we want to improve in qualifying always, but we would never expect this position. We will see tomorrow.

"It's important that we have to catch up to Mercedes and this is my target. Usually I think our long run is not too bad so we have a lot of chance. I mean, the start is the most dangerous point so I have to watch out at the start."

Kobayashi did sound a note of caution, however, warning that he was not going to get ahead of himself and chase unrealistic targets.

"I am very happy, the team did a great job. For quite a while we have kept saying we need to improve our qualifying performance, and I think this was a clear improvement today. Apparently I will be starting from third position tomorrow because Lewis Hamilton had to change his gearbox. This grid position obviously means a lot of chances. However, I am not a dreamer and the target remains the same: score as many points as you can. We have a strong car, normally it is also good on tyres and I am looking forward to the race full of confidence."