Sauber was left disappointed after the Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai resulted in them scoring just a single point. Nico Hulkenberg finished a hard fought tenth, whilst Esteban Gutierrez failed to finish after clattering into the back of Adrian Sutil in the early stages of the race.
The result for Hulkenberg doesn’t tell the full story however, with the German at one stage enjoying several laps in the lead of the race as the different tyre strategies played out. His time at the front was short lived however, and he dropped back following a couple of slow pit stops.
“It was quite a mixed race with mixed emotions. It was obviously very nice to be leading again, and to be at the front battling with the top teams. I had a reasonable start and some nice battles in the first couple of laps. I was able to gain some positions, but, somehow, towards the end of the race, we were losing or lacking a little bit of pace,” he said.
“Once you are in the lead or second you understandably hope for more. Nevertheless, it might not have been the true picture, as we were racing out of sequence with other people who were starting on soft tyres. But anyway, it was quite a good race. I don’t think the two issues I had in pit lane made a difference between winning or losing.”
Meanwhile, Esteban Guttierez was given a grid penalty for the Bahrain Grand Prix after missing his braking points at the hairpin following the long back straight.
“First of all, I had a good start, and a good first lap. At that point in the race when the accident happened, we had a reasonable speed and were able to keep the pace in order to stay with the group in front. Right before going into the long straight I had Checo [Perez] fighting behind me, and I approached the corner too fast. I was braking at the same place where I usually brake, however, didn’t anticipate the loss of downforce and the amount of speed I had. I tried my best to stop, but didn’t succeed,” the rookie explained.
“It was definitely my fault, and I apologise to Adrian and to his team. It’s not a good feeling to finish a race like this, but we have something to encourage us to keep going and to keep pushing. We had a good pace, and let’s keep moving forward.”
“We are somewhat disappointed with the result, because, based on how the race went for Nico, we feel we could have achieved more. We have to investigate why the performance was not as expected in the final stint,” team boss Monisha Kalternborn concluded.