Nico Hulkenberg has said that his fifth place finish in the Italian Grand Prix was “the ideal result.” The German started the race from third on the grid but dropped behind the Ferrari duo on the first lap. He the managed to hold a late challenge from Nico Rosberg to finish just inside the top five.
It was an impressive result from the 26-year-old, who was driving below-par machinery in comparison to those around him. He lost position to both Ferrari cars by the chequered flag but was the best of the result behind Vettel, Alonso, Webber and Massa.
Speaking in a team statement after the race he said: “It’s a great result and, after yesterday, another great performance by the team today. I am very happy and fifth was the ideal result. Despite starting third, it was always clear keeping the Ferrari and Red Bulls behind was not realistic. I lost two places right at the start, but then the pace was good and, especially towards the end, I was able to catch up quite a bit again. ”
He added: “I kept the Mercedes behind with Nico leaving no room for me making any mistakes. It’s a very nice result for the team, and finally we have some points again. I hope this will give us some momentum, so we can carry this form on to the next couple of races.”
Team-mate Esteban Gutierrez finished in 13th place, admitting that he was pleased with his performance despite a disappointing end result. He said: “The start of the race was quite reasonable. I gained one place, but the first corner was tricky. It was important to keep the car together. I was able to settle down well during the first few laps. I was trying to manage the tyres as best I could, but, of course, you can’t compromise too much.
“Overall, it was a good race. Obviously, we cannot be happy, because it’s not a great result. However, the race was positive. Now we have to improve in qualifying, so we can start in a better position. I’m confident we will get there.”
Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber team principal, was delighted with the performance. Speaking about the team’s best result of the season so far she said: “We are happy about such a great result. Nico fought hard and drove a fantastic race. The crew did a great job as well today. Esteban was held up several times and thus lost the chance to score points. Overall, however, he drove yet again a very strong race and showed he is constantly improving.”
She was pleased to see the result reflecting the step forward in car development: “We are pleased to see that, for the first time, the result reflects us making a step forward with the development of the car. A big thank you to the race team here in Monza and the team back in Hinwil.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic