The qualifying pace shown by the Sauber F1 Team in Korea has continued to Japan with Sauber F1 Team driver Nico Hülkenberg making it into the top ten again, and setting the seventh fastest time. Team mate Esteban Gutiérrez was 14th quickest in his Sauber C32 Ferrari.
Nico Hülkenberg, Sauber C32-Ferrari (Chassis 03/Ferrari 056): “We knew we could fight for the top ten today, but P7 is a nice surprise. It was very tight, everything had to fall into place and I think we managed to do that. Compared to yesterday, the wind changed so we had a tail wind on the straights and this makes you really quick. That means we have a head wind in sector one, which gives you a lot of grip. It was so much fun to put a really good lap together in Q3. I am very happy. Clearly tomorrow we’ll be aiming for points.”
Esteban Gutiérrez, Sauber C32-Ferrari (Chassis 04/Ferrari 056): “We are not as competitive as on previous tracks. I was just two tenths slower than Nico in Q2. This is the first time for me driving on this track and I pushed right to the limit. Regarding the fire, I just saw it and jumped out. The guys had everything under control and I was relieved that I was able to continue my qualifying. We put a good lap together and now I have to stay optimistic for tomorrow, as I think we have a good pace in the long runs. Points are not easy, but we will do our best.”
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: "We are happy with this qualifying, because we knew it was gong to be extremely tight. Nico, again, did a fantastic job and is in a good position to score points tomorrow. Esteban also did a great job on a track that was new to him, and it is impressive how he has improved over the weekend while learning such a difficult track. The difference for him to be 11th was not even a tenth. All in all an exceptional qualifying and we are hoping for points tomorrow.”
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: “It was clear from FP3 qualifying was going to be very tight in the midfield, and we saw that again in Q2. It was very windy today, which we needed to take into account, and both drivers did a very good job on that. Esteban was unlucky to miss out on Q3, as he was so close to making it, but, again, he did a solid job on a very difficult circuit that was new to him. Nico got the most out of the car, and, starting from P7 tomorrow with the long run pace both cars showed in FP2, our target is clearly points. We did have a fire during Q1 from some unburnt fuel, which meant we had to change our plans slightly, but there was no damage to the car and we were able to continue.”