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Italian Grand Prix: Fifth place 'ideal result' for Hulkenberg

"It's a fantastic result for Nico, who withstood pressure from Nico Rosberg throughout, and didn't put a foot wrong, added Tom McCullough, Sauber's head of track engineering. "Finally he was rewarded for the fantastic job he did [in qualifying].".

Hulkenberg was at the centre of attention with his performance over the weekend. Since it all took place in Ferrari's backdoor, there was considerable speculation about whether he might just have staged a successful audition for the Ferrari number two seat in 2014 with his dazzling display at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.

"It's definitely something I wouldn't deny which I'm definitely interested in, it's a no-brainer. I don't know if it will happen, time will tell," said said Hulkenberg. "There has been speculation and lots of talk, but at some point the talking has to stop and the decisions will be made."

Monza was not such a happy hunting ground for Hulkenberg's rookie team mate Esteban Gutierrez, who went against the mainstream opinion on tyres by starting on the hard compound and making them stretch to lap 27 before his one and only pit stop of the afternoon. Unfortunately the second half of the race on the medium options saw him fall back and lose most of that early gained ground, with the young Mexican finally finishing in 13th position from a grid place of 16th.

"Esteban was held up several times and thus lost the chance to score points," explained Kaltenborn. "Overall, however, he drove yet again a very strong race and showed he is constantly improving."

But with Kaltenborn confirming to Sky Sports F1 at the weekend that Sergei Sirotkin would indeed have a guaranteed race seat at the team in 2014 as long as he qualified for the necessary superlicence over the winter, and Gutierrez set to stay with the team because of the much-needed sponsor money he brings in from Mexico communications giant Telmex, it seems that despite Hulkenberg's outstanding run in Monza the German may yet end up being the odd man left standing when the silly season music stops playing.

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