MOTORSPORT: Kobayashi suffers an unlucky break

Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham (left) collides with the rear of Felipe Massa’s Williams at the start of Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix

Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham (left) collides with the rear of Felipe Massa’s Williams at the start of Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix

First published in Sport

Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi expressed his frustration after a serious rear brake failure ended his Australian Grand Prix after a few hundred metres.

Kobayashi, from the Leafield-based outfit, careered through the first corner and into a gravel trap at Melbourne’s Albert Park, taking out Williams’ Felipe Massa in the process. The race was won by Red Bull’s Nico Rosberg.

Massa felt the Japanese was at fault, calling for “a hard penalty”.

But Kobayashi said: “That isn't how I wanted my first race back to go, and I'm sorry for the team and for Felipe (Massa) that both our races ended early.

“I had a really good start, but then into turn one I made contact with Felipe.

“From the initial data it looked like I had a brake system issue which meant I couldn’t do much about the contact and when we got the car back and looked at the information in much more detail it was clear there was the problem.

“After the race I went to the stewards and they went through the data and confirmed this was the case.

“We’ll have a close look at what caused that problem and make sure we fix it.”

His teammate Marcus Ericsson also retired early. Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean says the Enstone-based team is heading in the right direction, despite he and Pastor Maldonado failing to finish.

Grosjean started from the pit lane before a problem with the engine unit brought his race to an end in 15th place on lap 44, with Mald-onado was a place behind.

Maldonado started from back of the grid and completed a pit stop before his run was cut short, again by the same problem.

“In a way, it was a pretty positive day,” said Grosjean. “I expected to do around 15 to 20 laps after all the issues we’ve had and managed 45.

“We’ve learnt a lot and all the changes made to the car have been positive.

“We still have a long way to go, but at least I know more about tyre usage, where we need to improve with the chassis.

“And we’ve learnt a lot about aero balance and fuel consumption.

“Of course, there’s more to do with the energy management and recovery and some work yet with the braking.

“We’ve still got lots of work to do, but we’re definitely heading in the right direction.”

Maldonado added: “It was obviously very disappointing.

“But if you look at the positives we did more laps than we did in the pre-season which is quite encouraging.”

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