Neither of the two Saubers was exactly in factory condition at the conclusion of the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix, with both cars ending the race prematurely and even the team itself agreeing that this had been "a weekend to forget" for the squad.

Nico H?lkenberg's race in Montreal came to an end on lap 45 after he'd earlier made contact with a backmarker as he tried to lap the Caterham car through the final chicane.

"Lapping can be troublesome, but these guys are racing too and have things happenings in the race, the same as us," said H?lkenberg, taking a conciliatory line over the incident that ended his campaign. "I lapped Giedo van der Garde and braked. At first I didn't feel anything until I came out of the corner and realised the car wasn't going straight, so we decided to stop."

H?lkenberg had started from ninth on the grid, gaining two places overnight thanks to the penalties handed out to Kimi Raikkonen and Daniel Ricciardo. However, he'd quickly dropped back behind Raikkonen and Ricciardo again to 11th place in the opening laps and then before his first pit stop on lap 12 dropped him down to 17th.

He'd recovered to 14th before his clash with van der garde, but H?lkenberg admitted he'd never really been at the races on Sunday at the Circuit Cille Villeneuve.

"Even after we lost positions at the start of the race, we didn't really have the pace today," he agreed. "I was fighting for 14th and couldn't do much more.

"Of course this is not an ideal way to end a race, but in the end we wouldn't have gained much more," he insisted. "It's disappointing to finish a race like this."

"This is a weekend to forget," offered team principal Monisha Kaltenborn. "We knew this track wouldn't really suit our car. If you have weaknesses on the car in addition to a track that doesn't suit you, then it's twice as hard. We have a lot of work to do."

The team had tried to address their inherent weakness in Montreal by splitting the strategies of their two drivers, H?lkenberg taking a two-stop approach while Esteban Guti?rrez was tasked with trying to make a one-stopper work, which finally proved too much to ask.

"Ultimately the tyre degradation and wear were too high for Esteban, so we had to convert to a two stopper late in the race," explained Tom McCullough, Sauber F1's head of track engineering. "And unfortunately he had the incident exiting the pits."

Guti?rrez dived in for a late change to supersofts on lap 65, but when he came out of the pits he ended up flying into the barrier, doing extensive damage to his car in the process which had to be craned away. under local double waved yellows.

"For the entire race the car was difficult to drive, and I was always pushing to the limit. Right from the start everyone was closing in," he explained. "When I came out from my second pit stop into the first corner, I went over one of the bumps, the front locked up and I couldn't stop," he sighed.

Guti?rrez was unhurt in the crash which was quickly cleaned up by the marshals at turn 1 using a mobile crane. Unfortunately a freak tragic accident - not directly related to Guti?rrez' accident - ended up with one of the track workers subsequently being run over by the crane. Despite immediate medical attention, the 38-year-old did not survive. (See separate story.)

After learning of the tragic incident, the team posted a message on its Facebook page: "It saddens us to hear of the passing away of a track marshal after an incident at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve yesterday.

"F1 racing would not be possible without the devotedness of these marshals who guarantee the safety of the drivers, teams and race visitors," the message continued. "Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the marshal and we would like to offer our sincere condolences."



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