SAUBER came crashing back to earth after the jubilation of Malaysia, finishing with just a single point from the China Grand Prix yesterday after showing plenty of promise in qualifying.
Sergio Perez claimed second place at Sepang last month, a career-high for him and Sauber's best result since they returned to the ownership of their founder, Peter Sauber, in 2009.
On Saturday qualifying in Shanghai, it was teammate Kamui Kobayashi's turn to hog the limelight, as he was fourth-fastest. The Mexican Perez was on the fourth row with Lewis Hamilton.
But Kobayashi made a poor start to the race, dropping down the field to eventually finish 10th, while the talented Perez was just one place behind the Japanese despite threatening the leaders mid-race.
"I must say I am very disappointed. I had a very good start, and for the entire first stint it really looked to be going very well for me," said Perez.
"But then when I picked up the medium compound tyres I lost a lot of performance from lap 17 onwards.
"Actually I feel I would have been better off with a three-stop strategy, but you never know.
"The pit stops as such were good, but at both I lost time at the launch because we had a problem with the clutch."
Kobayashi was similarly downbeat, saying: "Of course after what we did in qualifying the race result is disappointing.
"I'm not really sure what happened at the start, my car just didn't move, it was a bit strange and I lost positions immediately.
"Then I was stuck in traffic for most of the time, also we made the second pit stop a bit late and the tyres had gone.
"Quite often we have recovered in the race from a bad qualifying, but today it was the other way round.
"So we have proven we can be strong in both qualifying and races, and next time we will put this all together." AFP