Marcus Ericsson says it is 'tough' to have been beaten by Sauber team-mate Felipe Nasr in terms of points for the last two seasons having felt like the stronger driver for the majority of that time.
Ericsson ended his 2016 campaign as one of just two full-season drivers not to score a single point following struggles with the uncompetitive Sauber package, unlike Nasr who picked up two points with a ninth place finish in Brazli.
Coming a year after Nasr out-scored Ericsson 27 to 9 during their first season together at Sauber, the Swede says he is frustrated the results on paper don't reflect what he feels is his edge over the Brazilian racer.
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“For me I felt from the second half of last year I was the stronger of the two of us and then I have continued that this year. We have been together two years and he has beaten me clearly on point on those two years but I think I have been the stronger driver for one-and-a-half of those two years. That is how it is in F1
“This year I have felt really strong with good performances but when you finish 12th or 11th or 13th people do not notice it because you score zero points and one lap down or whatever. That has been tough because I feel I have done a really good job and like you said been a lot stronger than my team-mate all year. But that is how it is. I have got to keep doing what I am doing.”
Ericsson will remain with Sauber for a third season in F1 2017 – marking his fourth season in the sport – but the identity of his team-mate remains unknown.
However, while Ericsson acknowledges that his relationship with Nasr hasn't always been amicable – not least after their coming together in Monaco -, he insists would have no problem teaming up with him again in 2017.
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“We have had our disagreements and had our problems, no question about that. But I still believe it has been a positive two years together.
“I think myself and Felipe have been a good match because we have been pushing each other and even though I feel I am the stronger he has still been really close. I think it has always been a good fight between us two and we have been pushing each other quite hard.
“What happens with the team-mate next year, I don't know. If Felipe stays I would be happy and if someone else comes in I wouldn't be mind it either. The important thing is to have someone strong that you know you can push each other and that is the way to develop and push the team forward.”
Sauber were reportedly close to signing Pascal Wehrlein as the 2016 season came to an end but talks are on hold as Mercedes considers whether to promote the German into its title-winning team following Nico Rosberg's retirement call.
Regardless, Nasr's hopes of securing his seat appear to have been dealt a major blow by the news he has lost backing from Banco do Brasil, though Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn insists he is still a candidate.
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