Nico Hulkenberg has explained how bad luck prevented the German from improving during the second segment of qualifying ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, after Felipe Massa caused a red flag delay whilst Hulkenberg was on personal best lap time. The German thoroughly believes that lap would have seen him progress to the top ten.
However, Nico Hulkenberg frustratingly missed out on progressing further into the session, eventually qualifying 11th for the race. Although Felipe Massa’s red flag delay greatly hindered his progress, the 25-year-old firmly believes the team has managed to improve after a highly frustrating opening day to the Canadian Grand Prix weekend. With the forecast dry for the 70-lap race, the former Force India driver is remaining optimistic that he can enjoy a competitive result for the Hinwil-based outfit.
“It was really bad luck today.” Explained Nico Hulkenberg, “I was on a good lap and could have made Q3, but then the red flag came out 200 meters before the finish line. But I think, after a difficult day yesterday, today we improved quite a bit and P11 is not too bad to start from – it’s close to the points. According to the weather forecast it’s going to be dry and warmer than it has been all weekend. We have to wait and see how competitive we can be.”
Esteban Gutierrez was also eliminated after Q2, after the Mexican rookie struggled in the extremely tricky weather conditions. This weekend is the 21-year-old’s first around Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, as he hunts down what seems to be his elusive maiden points in the sport. Esteban Gutierrez’s progress was also hindered by the red flag caused by Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, as the Mexican struggled to compile a competitive lap once the session was resumed despite being the first driver back out onto the track.
“The conditions today were very tricky.” Said Esteban Gutierrez, “I was trying to find the limit of the car, and getting grip was difficult. A red flag interrupted Q2, and then it was quite a challenge to put a lap together. We are pushing the window to the top ten and we need to keep fighting for Q3. For the race tomorrow we are not sure about the weather, but I suppose it’s going to be dry. This can be good for us, because we decided on a low downforce set-up. Hopefully this will help us to overtake.”
Sauber has endured a frustrating start to the season within the extremely competitive midfield section, with only Nico Hulkenberg so far managing to add five points to the team’s tally in the Constructors’ Championship. Naturally both Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez will be striving to add to that tally in tomorrow’s 70-lap race, however with the sheer competitiveness of the field they will certainly have their work cut out alongside the likes of Sergio Perez, Pastor Maldonado and Daniel Ricciardo.
Picture Copyright © Sauber Motorsport AG