Kamui Kobayashi believes he made his mark in Formula One with his podium finish at the Japanese Grand Prix...
Kamui Kobayashi believes he made his mark in Formula One with his podium finish at the Japanese Grand Prix.
With Sauber team-mate Sergio Perez claiming three podiums so far this campaign Kobayashi had been under a bit of pressure to get into the top three, but he delivered at his home race on Sunday by finishing third behind Sebastian Vettel and Felipe Massa.
The 26-year-old feels he can now regard himself as an F1 driver now that he has that "photo".
"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," he said.
"Without such a photo it's a bit as if you had never been there. So it means a lot to me."
After a couple of close shaves with the podium earlier this season, Kobayashi admits he was pretty confident heading to Suzuka.
"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," he said.
"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."