Nico Hulkenberg has described Sauber’s Bahrain Grand Prix weekend as difficult and frustrating, after the Swiss outfit visibly struggled for pace and ultimately failed score a single Championship point. The German eventually finished 12th, whereas team-mate Esteban Gutierrez finished woefully off of the pace down in 18th.
After a highly competitive season last year, Sauber have so far had a slow start to the new season with only five points scored so far. Esteban Gutierrez in particular has been woefully off of the pace, and this weekend he fell into the clutches of Charles Pic in the Caterham. Nico Hulkenberg has described the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend as both difficult and frustrating for the Hinwil-based outfit, with the team visibly lacking pace and struggling with Pirelli’s tyres.
The outfit is now pinning its hopes on the new upgrades scheduled to be introduced to the car next time out at the Spanish Grand Prix, when the sport reconvenes in three weeks time. The Swiss outfit will be hoping such upgrades will allow them to fight their way through the order and score points on a more regular basis, in what has remained a hugely competitive midfield.
“It was a difficult and frustrating weekend.” Explained Nico Hulkenberg, “It was clear from the beginning that we were not fast enough and that it would be challenging. We are lacking speed and eat up the rear tyres too much so it simply wasn’t enough this weekend. We pitted a bit too late, because we expected to have more problems on low fuel, which in the end we didn’t have. That cost us at least one position. This weekend clearly showed we need to bring some new parts to Barcelona in order to improve our speed and fight for points.”
After starting from 22nd and last on the grid due to a grid penalty incurred at the Chinese Grand Prix, Esteban Gutierrez struggled greatly at the back of the pack. The Mexican rookie, who has so far failed to make an impact in the team, has implored Sauber to find more speed before the next race weekend in Barcelona. Esteban Gutierrez was forced to pit after the opening lap, after sustaining damage to his front wing in an almost unavoidable incident.
“I expected a difficult race and this is what I got.” Said Esteban Gutierrez, “We need to find more speed. On the first lap I had contact down into Turn 10, which was really hard to avoid. Apart from that, things were quite ok, but, of course, finishing a race like this is definitely not enough and we need to improve. We have to analyze the strategy and hopefully we will bring some good updates to Barcelona.”
It seems almost incredible that Sauber had already scored 31 points in the Championship this time last season, including a podium finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix. For Esteban Gutierrez, it has been a tough introduction to the frenetic world of Formula 1, and he’ll unquestionably be striving to impress as the sport returns to Europe.
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