Who better to tell us a little more into Kamui’s fledgling F1 career than his number one fan? Introducing MarshallGP’s first guest blogger Chris Allison AKA @kamuiwatch on twitter.
Kamui Kobayashi has gone from being one of the most calamitous souls on the grid to being everyone’s second (or first!) driver. After a spectacular start to his career attempting to derail Jenson’s title bid, he picked up his first points in only his second ever F1 race in an uncompetitive Toyota in F1’s first ever day to night race – and that’s just for starters!
Despite losing more front wings last season than Hamilton has had stewards enquiries this, he shone through as one to watch following some great drives, notably in Valencia (overtaking Alonso on the last lap to claim 7th in an uncompetitive Sauber) along with owning the hairpin turn 11 at Suzuka in his home race, overtaking on the inside and even the outside (of a hairpin!) of the corner, finishing up with a respectable 32 points for a rookie season in a car that should have been at the back of the midfield. He’s already had one of the strongest starts to the season on the grid – having scored points in every race bar Australia (where he was unfortunately disqualified from a points paying position!), in fine company with only championship leaders Vettel, Button and Webber having finished in the points at every race so far.
Whilst not quite having the same points-to-race ratio as the others, considering his car’s pace he’s certainly doing himself favours in establishing his reputation as a driver who isn’t afraid to have a go, can get the most out of his machinery and, importantly for this season, successfully managing the challenge of the Pirelli tyres. You could even say that he has the perfect blend of Hamilton’s aggression, showmanship and willingness to take on all comers combined with the Button-esque intelligence to deliver on both pre-determined and ad-hoc strategy calls, often from a lowly grid position.
With the hot blown diffuser being reduced to only 10% from the British GP onwards, expect nothing less than the Sauber being more competitive than it has been so far relative to the rest of the field and Kamui really taking the fight to the Renaults and Mercedes of this world, hopefully taking the scalps of a few of the big boys in the process! Oh, and back to the point – the wait for the elusive Japanese F1 race winner is over, his name is Kamui Kobayashi, and thanks to a cheeky bit of rain, Sauber’s imminent relative pace increase and Kamui’s evident love of performing in front of his home crowd, if it doesn’t happen sooner – it’ll be in Japan.
As much as I enjoy Peter Sauber and his team’s approach to racing, it can’t be long before his talents are required by one of the top teams (no offence intended at all to the Sauber guys – they’re doing a great job this year!). Where will he be in the future – going on to secure many more wins? We all hope Kubica is back and strong from his injury, so the Renault seats are probably (& hopefully) taken. Before Canada, it would have appeared that the obvious future vacancies are Massa and Schumacher’s seats – but I doubt I’m alone in thinking he’d be wasted as an understudy to Alonso, although he could slot in nicely next to Rosberg. Webber’s seat at RBR is surely up for grabs in the near future, but will they continue with their driver development strategy or even go Hamilton as has been recently speculated, leaving a vacant seat at McLaren? I tell you what – and you heard it here first – don’t be surprised to see Kamui driving a McLaren in 2013, and then this story really begins…