Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn has praised the performance of her drivers despite a challenging campaign for the Swiss squad in 2013.

Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez both struggled for results early in the season, but updates to the C32 introduced mid-way through the campaign - and revisions to Pirelli's tyres - have results in an upturn in fortunes in recent events.

Hulkenberg's performances have seen him linked with a move to Lotus for 2014 while Gutierrez was able to break his points scoring duck with seventh place in Japan at the weekend having shown a notable upturn in performance in the preceding races.

The Mexican's future remains in the air for next year but Kaltenborn said she was happy with the way both her men had performed during the current campaign.

"Both drivers have shown a very good performance," Kaltenborn said. "Nico delivers what we expected from him. He is fast, consistent and very efficient. He has gained a lot of points through his fighting spirit, but he also knows how to seize and use chances if they present themselves to him during a race.

"Esteban had a tough start. In addition, the car was not as good at the beginning of the season as it is today, which didn't help. Nevertheless he worked hard and improved continuously. It was only a question of time for everything to slot into place, as we could see last weekend. Looking at his times, he was often very close to Nico, but, because the competition in the middle field is so tight, sometimes it was a couple of positions away, which, at a first glance, doesn't look good.

"However, he also did an outstanding job when, for example, giving feedback regarding the set-up of the car, which took the team forward."


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