After a season in which most headlines about Sauber have centred on their troubled financial situation, it was a welcome change to be able to report success for the team at Monza with Nico Hulkenberg's success in qualifying leading on to a top five finish in the Italian Grand Prix.

This weekend it seems to be Esteban Gutierrez's turn to pick up the baton and shine for the Swiss-based team, as he made it into Q3 in Singapore and will start alongside Toro Rosso's Daniel Ricciardo on the fifth row of the grid for Sunday's race.

"To qualify tenth is a really special feeling and one that I have missed," admitted Gutierrez on Saturday night. "I enjoyed every part of the qualifying. The result today was very important, because it's not fun going into qualifying knowing that you can be around the top ten, but not getting there.

"At the beginning, it looked a bit difficult today, but I was pushing myself in practice and communicated well with the team," he continued. "We decided that in order to make the next step, we need to be more aggressive and be more on the edge.

"This obviously made me make some mistakes in certain optimum laps in practice, but it was the only way to feel that edge and putting some pressure on that side to be there and extracting the maximum of the tyres," he explained.

"During the practice sessions I was able to try to do that, and it's great to see it paid off, so a big thank you to the team," he said. "It's a great feeling to know we have to find a solution to that. I have to take this feeling and memory in to this lap, which was amazing, to keep improving further for the future."

Getting into the top ten on the grid gives him a strong chance of picking up points in the Grand Prix itself,although but he admitted that it would be a difficult race and not only because of the draining heat and humidity even in the night time.

"I think tomorrow will be a tough race," said the 22-year-old. "Tyre degradation will be critical and we need to consider that. We usually have a good race pace and also had that in FP2 yesterday [so] I'm confident we can push for points.

"Our pace has been great in the races, we were able to fight for positions but we were just missing starting in a better position. Now starting in P10 it will be a huge difference for us and we will try to maximise every part of it."

Less happy with qualifying was Hulkenberg, who narrowly missed out on making it through to Q3 because of a technical problem on the car.

"Qualifying went really well up until the last lap of Q2," he said. "[Then] I had a problem in sector one on the DRS straight, as my DRS didn't open in time. I lost a good two tenths there, which would have put us into Q3. We need to look into that now and find out why that happened.

"As overtaking is quite difficult on this track, it is going to be a difficult day tomorrow," he admitted, while also looking for the positives form his performance so far this weekend.

"Overall it seems we have made a step forward over the past couple of races, and I hope we can continue that positive trend [in the race]," he said.

Comments

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment