It was a bittersweet qualifying performance for Sauber around the Yas Marina Circuit at Abu Dhabi, which eventually saw Nico Hulkenberg qualify a competitive 6th, in stark contrast to Esteban Gutierrez who could only manage a disappointing 17th. The Swiss outfit currently sits 13 points behind Force India in the Championship.
After several highly competitive race performances from Nico Hulkenberg, the German will unquestionably be aiming to catapult his team back into the points after the outfit failed to score a single point last weekend in India. The German ace, whose future in the sport is still unconfirmed with only three races remaining, is highly optimistic that Sauber will be able to remain within the top ten during the race with the high top speed of their car. Nico Hulkenberg described his qualifying lap as perfect during the top ten shootout, where he firmly believes he managed squeeze every bit of pace out of the car.
“It was a perfect lap and I could really get the maximum out of the car.” Enthused Nico Hulkenberg, “Overtaking won’t be easy on this track. There are the two DRS zones, and in the past there have been a few overtaking maneuvers, but I think we have a good top-speed. We were able to be in the top ten all weekend and I am confident this will continue to be the case tomorrow as well.”
With Nico Hulkenberg expecting overtaking to be tough during the 55-lap race tomorrow, the German’s team-mate Esteban Gutierrez could well be in for a frustrating race towards the back of the grid. For the ninth time this season, the Mexican rookie was eliminated from proceedings after the opening segment of qualifying along with the Force India of Adrian Sutil, the two Caterhams and the two Marussias. His poor performance was down to sheer bad luck in the freneticism of Q1, as his first timed lap was ruined by traffic before the team simply ran out of time to complete a second run.
“It’s very disappointing to start P17, because our pace is really good.” Explained a disconsolate Esteban Gutierrez, “We were on a push, pull, push strategy and ran out of time for the second push. The call was tricky, as on the first lap I ran into traffic and for the second push we ran out of time, so I didn’t get the chance to set a lap. It was clearly a mistake, and we were only missing a few seconds.”
Despite Nico Hulkenberg’s assumptions that overtaking will be difficult throughout the 55-lap race, two DRS zones will be in place to try and assist the drivers in completing overtaking maneuvers. Due to his frustratingly uncompetitive performance during qualifying, Esteban Gutierrez will be hopeful that he finds overtaking relatively easy as he strives to climb his way through the order.
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