The Sauber F1 Team’s feelings are mixed after qualifying for the Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi. While Nico Hülkenberg qualified seventh and managed to get into Q3 yet again, his teammate Esteban Gutiérrez had to accept P16.
After a strong Q1, he was not able to match his lap in Q2 and now he has to make the best out of the situation. Nico’s goal is straightforward: he wants to get as many points as possible and strengthen the team’s position.
Nico Hülkenberg, Sauber C32-Ferrari (Chassis 03/Ferrari 056), 7th: “Overall it was quite a good qualifying. P7 is a good position for tomorrow, and I expect a close battle with the McLarens. They chose a different approach by qualifying on the hard tyre, we qualified on the soft, so it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. In the race we have to see how we get on with the soft tyres, as they didn’t look too good in free practice yesterday. Since then we have improved the car, so they should last a bit longer. The long runs on the medium tyre looked good.”
Esteban Gutiérrez, Sauber C32-Ferrari (Chassis 04/Ferrari 056), 16th: “Today, I think, we had good pace and managed to fix the issues we had yesterday. However, I struggled to feel comfortable with the track. It’s very slippery. Overall, it has been a complicated weekend, but we managed a good Q1. The car was handling really well and we were in a good shape for Q2. Then went over the kerb and the hit was quite hard, that distracted me quite a bit. My neck started to hurt a lot and now I have to take care of that to be ready for the race tomorrow.”
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: “We knew that qualifying wouldn’t be easy. Once more, Nico put in a flawless performance and will start from P7 in the race tomorrow. Esteban has been struggling to feel comfortable with the track the whole weekend, but managed to get a good time in Q1. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to match that in Q2 and will now try to drive a flawless race tomorrow. The aim for Nico is to get as many points as possible.”
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: “The overnight changes we had made to the car gave a much better balance in FP3 on both the medium and, more importantly, the option tyre for Nico. Esteban had a difficult FP3 in the morning, not being able to get a clear lap on the option tyre. After a strong qualifying one he was not able to replicate the time in qualifying two. With Nico getting into qualifying three again, starting seventh, the strategy we have chosen and our race pace, our aim is to score points again.”