Sauber found themselves having a good overall performance in Qualifying under the floodlights of the Marina Bay Street Circuit today, as Mexico’s Esteban Gutiérrez made it into the Q3 top-ten shootout for the very first time in his Formula One career, placing in tenth for tomorrow’s race. However his teammate, Nico Hulkenberg, was suffering with a DRS issue that compromised his overall lap time, putting him just behind the sister car for the first time this season.
The German explained that all was going to plan up until the end of Q2 before his DRS decided to not activate in time for the zone in located in sector one, but is hopeful that progress is still on the cards for the Hinwil-based squad: “I lost a good two tenths there, which would have put us into Q3. We need to look into that now and find out why that happened. As overtaking is quite difficult on this track, it is going to be a difficult day tomorrow. Overall it seems we have made a step forward over the past couple of races, and I hope we can continue that positive trend tomorrow.”
Gutiérrez showed last year in the GP2 series that it is a track he has shown good form around, securing a second place in the feature race and a sixth place in the sprint race whilst trying to fight for the title. This was part of a good showing in his fight for the GP2 series title, which is now somewhat vindicated by his ongoing progress in his rookie season in Formula One.
Both drivers are confident of points in tomorrow’s race, a thought also prominent in the mind of Team Principal, Monisha Kaltenborn, who was delighted with the way both drivers were able to fight to the higher end of the grid, where it is very competitive. She is hopeful of a strong showing in the race: “Nevertheless, this puts us in a good position for the race tomorrow. Our strong performance also showed that all the hard work over the past few months has paid off, and that we managed to significantly improve the car.”
Positivity was one of the feelings that the Swiss outfit are currently experiencing to their delight after a difficult start to the year, but the results, according to Head of Track Engineering, Tom McCullough, showed that they “have been working hard to understand and improve in that area, and we see the result of that today with P10 and P11. Esteban drove fantastically. He delivered what we knew was always possible from him.”
So with the team hopeful of two cars finishing in a points-paying position on a track that they have struggled on in years past, this could be the boost that Sauber needs to move forward once again…
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic (c)