The Sauber F1 Team had their strongest race of the season in Hungary but continue to seek their first point of 2014 after Adrian Sutil finished eleventh, while Esteban Gutierrez retired mid-race with a mechanical issue while running in the points.
Sutil had his strongest race of the season so far at the Hungaroring and missed out on a point by the smallest of margins of after being unable to find a way past the McLaren of Jenson Button. He was positive about his pace throughout the race as he felt the team were closer to their main rivals than in recent races.
“Finishing in P11 was very close to gaining one point,” said Sutil. “It was not an easy race, especially at the beginning with the difficult weather conditions and the two safety car periods. During the first safety car period we made our first pit stop. When I came to the box I had to wait as Esteban had not finished yet. I did loose some time, but I was fighting back.
“At the end I finished the race in 11th. In the corners I was faster than Jenson (Button), but I could not overtake him as he did not make any mistakes and drove away on the straights. However, it was a positive day as we came closer to the teams in front of us, and this is what counts.”
Team-mate Gutierrez was disappointed to retire from the race with an Energy Recovery System issue after running comfortably in the top ten ahead of Sutil, and was running at the pace of Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari who would end up finishing the race in sixth.
“The race started well, as I could gain positions during the start,” said Gutierrez. “I was pushing as much as I could, trying to drive very precisely and consistently. I was able to gain some positions and everything was going in the right direction. During the safety car period I came in for the pit stop, everything was right on target.
“After the restart, I was fighting with Kimi (Raikkonen) and trying to keep him behind. The pace was good and I was also able to keep up with the drivers in front of me. It was an unfortunate ending, but there are a lot of positives we can take from the weekend.”
Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn was disappointed a strong race was not rewarded with points in Hungary, but praised both drivers for their good performances in difficult conditions.
“This was a good performance by the whole team that was unfortunately not rewarded,” said Kaltenborn. “Esteban was driving strongly, and it’s really frustrating that we had a problem with the Energy Recovery System, which forced him to retire.
“Adrian also drove strongly, but unfortunately didn’t manage to gain the decisive position on track. The whole team delivered an impeccable performance under very difficult circumstances.”
Head of Track Engineering Giampaolo Dall’Ara echoed his Team Principal by describing missing out on points again as disappointing. He was upset about Gutierrez’s ERS failure, and for the delay in the pits that cost Sutil a position after the team decided to pit both drivers on the same time under the safety car.
“There were two deciding factors in this race for our team,” said Dall’Ara. “First we lost Esteban due to a failure of the Energy Recovery System. He was running in eighth and could have finished the race in the points.
“The second key point was that we lost a position on the track, and this car slowed Adrian quite a bit towards the end of the race. During the first safety car period, we made the call to bring both cars in on the same lap, which was not easy to handle, but under the circumstances it was a correct decision.
“It was positive that we were able to race with quite a lot of competition, but it’s disappointing not to finish in the points.”