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Kamui Kobayashi Q&A: Home podium ‘a fantastic feeling’ 08 Oct 2012

Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, 7 October 2012 Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber celebrates in parc ferme with his team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, 7 October 2012 Third placed Kamui Kobayashi (JPN) Sauber celebrates with the fans.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Race, Suzuka, Japan, Sunday, 7 October 2012

There was hardly anyone in the paddock in Suzuka who could resist smiling at the sight of an elated Kamui Kobayashi after his third-place finish in front of his home crowd in Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix. A day later, the Sauber driver talks about the first podium of his Formula One career…

Q: Kamui, has yesterday’s achievement sunk in yet?
Kamui Kobayashi:
To be honest I don’t really know because I’ve been busy since the race was over. Last night there was a party with fans in Suzuka, and this morning I went straight back to Suzuka circuit because there was another event organised with more than 5,000 fans. In every respect it was a very intense weekend. I had a lot of confidence before we came to Japan, but then on Friday we were slower than expected, which was a bit worrying. Then qualifying went well, except I lost time due to a yellow flag, and the race was close until the very end.

Q: What does the first podium finish mean for you personally?
KK:
I’ve always felt that if you ever want to look back and regard yourself as a Formula One driver, you have to have been on the podium at least once. Without such a photo it’s a bit as if you had never been there. So it means a lot to me.

Q: You frequently said in public before the race that you wanted to finish on the podium. That was quite a bold statement. What made you so confident?
KK:
Firstly, I had great faith in our team; secondly, I knew we had a fast car; and thirdly, it was clear to me that Suzuka is the perfect track for it. Despite becoming a bit uncertain during Friday, I was very positive again on Saturday and after the formation lap I really had the feeling it would all go well this time. I had a couple of chances earlier in the season but missed them due to bad luck. I knew that the potential was there and this time it all went smoothly.

Q: What were your thoughts and feelings when you crossed the line?
KK:
I instantly relaxed when all the pressure came off. Without doubt it was a very important race for me in my career. And I felt: yes, now we will be having more strong races and really go for fifth place in the constructors’ championship.

Q: And how was it being on the podium, facing the huge grandstand with all your fellow countrymen cheering you?
KK:
This I cannot put into words. It was a fantastic feeling to see all the people in my home country so emotional and happy. It gave me such a lot and I will never forget that moment. I want to thank the Japanese fans for the great support they gave to the Sauber F1 Team and to myself.

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