Qualifying at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas saw Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg make it into Q3 and clinch a top ten starting grid position for the fifth race in succession in 2013, while team mate Esteban Gutierrez made it a double for the team for the second time this season.

Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn was ecstatic with the "fantastic qualifying result," one that gives Sauber a fighting chance of significantly closing the gap to Force India in the constructors championship.

"It's great that the team is able to continue its momentum, and with both cars," she said after qualifying for the United States GP. "This puts us in an excellent position for the race."

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Hulkenberg had been looking strong all through the practice sessions, and he confirmed that the Sauber had rarely felt better to him and that he had "felt comfortable with the car over the whole weekend."

However, that changed when the wind picked up for qualifying and caught out all the teams and drivers.

"It was a different story in Q1 and Q2, as the wind picked up compared to FP3 this morning," Hulkenberg admitted. "It was a tail wind out of turn one and, therefore, also sector one and a bit in sector two.

"It was tricky, because our car is pretty sensitive to wind," he explained. "But we made a few changes to it and put it all together in Q3. I think this was the maximum today for us and I am happy with my lap - P4 is a good position to start the race from tomorrow."

Gutierrez was also delighted with joining his team mate in the top ten in qualifying, for the first time since the Koreaa Grand Prix at the start of October.

"Getting into Q3 is a good thing, especially here in Austin," he pointed out. "With all the support we have here from the fans it's great to have two Mexicans qualifying in the top ten.

"Overall it was a good qualifying: with the change of wind it was tricky to decide on how to warm up the tyres in order to get the most out of them," he added. "We discussed several strategies, but at the end we decided to do one out lap and then push. It was pretty challenging, and it was not an optimal lap."

Although the team's head of track engineering Tom McCullough praised both drivers' "excellent awareness of the situation" in qualifying on Saturday, he also cautioned against over exuberance.

"There are no points on a Saturday, so today is only part one. Now we need to ensure we deliver a strong result tomorrow," he counselled.