Sauber have finally secured their first double-points finish of the season after a highly competitive Japanese Grand Prix, which saw Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez finish 6th and 7th respectively. This result saw the Mexican rookie secure his first points in the sport, after fending of the advances of the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.
During the latter half of the season, Sauber have visibly improved after a somewhat lackluster start to the year. In the last four races the Hinwil-based outfit have romped to an impressive 38 points, with German ace Nico Hulkenberg in particular at the forefront of the team’s success. However, the 53-lap Japanese Grand Prix finally saw Mexico’s Esteban Gutierrez secure his first points in Formula 1. During the latter stages of the race the 22-year-old rookie managed to masterfully fend off the advances of the much more experienced Nico Rosberg, to eventually finish a strong 7th.
“Finally I can feel great satisfaction after the race.” Enthused Esteban Gutierrez, “It has been a lot of work to get up to this point and, while it has not been an easy path, I think it has been a very solid one. Over the past few races we have been improving a lot and, as I said yesterday, we have to keep optimistic and this is the result of that. Knowing we can achieve something like this, you really go forward and do your best and push. Even though the last few laps were very difficult with Nico Rosberg behind me, it was overall a great race. I want to thank the team as is has done a great job today.”
Amid rumours linking Nico Hulkenberg to Lotus for 2014, the German sensation once again managed to produce a strong result for Sauber during the Japanese Grand Prix. After starting the race from 7th, the 26-year-old was able to gradually rise up to 4th and fend off both Ferraris in the process. However, during the latter stages of the race the German eventually succumb to both Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen to finish 6th. With only four races left in the season, Hulkenberg currently sits 10th in the Drivers’ Championship ahead of both Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta as the Hinwil-based outfit continues to strive to catch Force India in the Constructors’ Championship.
“I think, we did everything we could today.” Explained Nico Hulkenberg, “I was already surprised by the pace of the car going to the grid as it felt really good. Again I managed to keep both Ferraris behind me for a long time, even if it wasn’t enough as my tyres just gave up a little bit at the end of the race. We were fighting throughout the race today. Just after my second pit stop I was surprised I was able to pull away a bit from Fernando [Alonso], but he was probably saving his tyres. It was a great team result with P6 and P7, and hopefully a nice present for Peter Sauber. I’m fairly confident we can fight for points again in India.”
As the Formula 1 fraternity turns its focus to the Indian Grand Prix in several weeks time, Sauber currently sit 17 points behind Force India in the Constructors’ Championship. Should the Swiss outfit manage to continue with their competitiveness when the sport heads back to North America next month, then they could well find themselves ahead of their Silverstone-based rivals. Esteban Gutierrez will undoubtedly be looking for a further points finish before the season draws to a conclusion, after an incredibly mature drive from the rookie at Suzuka.
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