The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was a disappointment for the Sauber F1 Team: Esteban Gutiérrez, who started in P16, finished 13th and Nico Hülkenberg finished 14th. Due to a drive through penalty Hülkenberg was not able to maintain P5, which he started from. The crew released him too early from his pit stop while another car was passing.
Nico Hülkenberg, 14th, Sauber C32-Ferrari (Chassis 03/Ferrari 056): “I’m not quite sure what happened today. I had felt comfortable with the car all weekend, but from lap one I was struggling with it. All the balance and the confidence I had was gone today, and I don’t know why. I had a lot of understeer in the first two stints. I couldn’t really rotate the car, which cost a lot of lap time. Then the unsafe release during my second pit stop, which resulted in a drive through penalty, was also quite costly. Now we have to evaluate as to why the car was so different today. It is disappointing, because there was a realistic chance for points today.”
Esteban Gutiérrez, 13th, Sauber C32-Ferrari (Chassis 04/Ferrari 056): “Obviously we were looking for a better result this weekend, so we can not be happy. The pace is there, but qualifying yesterday affected the race today. Our strategy today wasn’t ideal either. I still had some good fights going on today, which I enjoyed, so I will take those positives with me and look forward to Austin.”
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: “We are not satisfied with a result like this, because the chance to get points was there. The performance the car showed on Friday and Saturday wasn’t there today. At the moment we don’t know why this was the case, so we will analyse that. The drive through penalty for Nico didn’t help either and, with Esteban starting P16, it was always going to be a challenging race. This doesn’t make our task for the end of the season any easier, but we expect to me more competitive again in the next two races.”
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: “Finishing out oft he points is disappointing having started fifth and 16th. Ultimately with our pace and tyre degradation we were not able to make the one stop strategy work, so we stuck to our planned two stop strategy. The drive through penalty for unsafe release cost Nico his day. For Esteban starting in P16 was always going to be difficult, but he fought well. We will regroup now for the final two races in order to make sure we will be able to fully exploit our qualifying and race pace.”