Nico Hulkenberg did his chances of landing a leading role in next year's F1 showpiece a power of good by taking his Sauber to fourth place in the Korean Grand Prix.

Having qualified in the top ten on Saturday afternoon, the German remained a fixture among the points positions on raceday, but added lustre to his performance by resisting pressure from both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso through the second half of the 55-lap encounter to equal his career-best result.

"Today I drove one of the best races in my career so far," he confirmed, "I have had cars in the mirrors before but, today, there were a lot and it was a bit annoying. Lewis really put the pressure on at the end, especially in the last sector, so I knew I needed to get out of turn one well."

Related Articles

Hamilton tried on several occasions to get by the Sauber, only to find every move rebuffed by the Swiss car's ability to get the power down and pull away out of corners.

"The car's traction was very good today, so that kept me alive against Fernando and then Lewis later on," Hulkenberg, who started on the supersoft tyres before making two stops for the more durable mediums, admitted, "but we were also very fast on the straight.

"I had a good start, although I was on the outside into turn one, which was a loss at first. But then I had a real good slipstream and was able to get past cars on the outside. A big thank you to the entire team for providing such an excellent car today."

Fourth for Hulkenberg was not only the best result of the season for the Sauber team, as the twelve points he secured moved the team up a place in the constructors' championship, into a tie for seventh spot with Toro Rosso. The driver also made serious gains, passing no fewer than four drivers in the individual standings.

Hulkenberg remains in the frame for several drives next season, despite his height and weight appearing to mitigate against a leading role in the new-look F1, and several team owners - albeit not necessarily the ones able to hire him - have commented on how unfair it would be for the German talent to miss out because of a regulation that could easily be accommodated to help the bigger pilots.

With Lotus already the favourite to snap him up as replacement for Ferrari-bound Kimi Raikkonen, and McLaren possibly waiting in the wings should it decide to call time on Sergio Perez, Hulkenberg insists that, while not harming his chances, the Korean result would not necessarily endear him any more to those teams showing interest.

"I am pleased just for the sake of having done a good result," he told Sky Sports F1, "[It was a] mega team effort - twelve points, for us it's a big thing - but I don't think this result [by itself] will change my future day and night. People have looked at me, if they're interested, for more time. Obviously today is good, no question and no argument, but they just don't look at one race do they?"

Hulkenberg also earned praise from Tom McCullough, Sauber's head of track engineering for looking after his tyres when drivers with more experience could not.

"Looking at what happened in the race, today was a right front tyre management exercise, knowing where to be quick and where to protect the car, and Nico executed that exactly as we wanted," McCullough confirmed, "He withstood some immense pressure from a lot of very good drivers behind him.

"This is a fantastic result for the team, and we have picked up some very important points in the constructors' championship. This is proof that the hard work being done in Hinwil is delivering on the track, [and] we aim to carry this momentum forward to Suzuka next week."