Sauber F1 put in another strong qualifying performance by qualifying 10th and 11th for the Singapore GP. Esteban Gutiérrez qualified for the top ten for the first time and achieved his best qualifying result in F1. Nico Hülkenberg was unlucky with the DRS not working properly during a final lap and so just knocking him out of the top ten.
Nico Hülkenberg, Sauber C32-Ferrari (Chassis 03/Ferrari 056): “Qualifying went really well up until the last lap of Q2. I had a problem in sector one on the DRS straight, as my DRS didn’t open in time. I lost a good two tenths there, which would have put us into Q3. We need to look into that now and find out why that happened. As overtaking is quite difficult on this track, it is going to be a difficult day tomorrow. Overall it seems we have made a step forward over the past couple of races, and I hope we can continue that positive trend tomorrow.”
Esteban Gutiérrez, Sauber C32-Ferrari (Chassis 04/Ferrari 056): “To qualify tenth is a really special feeling and one that I have missed. I enjoyed every part of the qualifying. The result today was very important, because it’s not fun going into qualifying knowing that you can be around the top ten, but not getting there. At the beginning, it looked a bit difficult today, but I was pushing myself in practice and communicated well with the team. We decided that, in order to make the next step, we need to be more aggressive and be more on the edge. During the practice sessions I was able to try to do that, and it’s great to see it paid off, so a big thank you to the team. I think tomorrow will be a tough race. Tyre degradation will be critical and we need to consider that. We usually have a good race pace and also had that in FP2 yesterday. I’m confident we can push for points tomorrow.”
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: “We are very pleased about this excellent result today. Especially for Esteban, who showed a fantastic performance. Finally his result in qualifying shows a step forward, which we were expecting during the last few races. Nico was unlucky, because there was a problem with his DRS, otherwise he would have made it into Q3 as well. Nevertheless, this puts us in a good position for the race tomorrow. Our strong performance also showed that all the hard work over the past few moths has paid off, and that we managed to significantly improve the car.”
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: “Overall it was a very positive qualifying for us today. The circuit’s characteristics here in Singapore have proved a particular weakness for us in the past, including last year. We have been working hard to understand and improve in that area, and we see the result of that today with P10 and P11. Esteban drove fantastically. He delivered what we knew was always possible from him. With Nico there was a problem with the DRS activation in Q2, and, unfortunately, because of that he didn’t make it through to Q3. Part one is done now that we have qualified in a competitive part of the grid. Our goal now is to convert that into a double points result tomorrow.”