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GP Week : Issue 180
It was the best of races, it was the worst of races. While Nico Hulkenberg briefly led the Chinese Grand Prix in the early stages, eventually finishing in P10, rookie racer Esteban Gutierrez was out of action on lap 2 thanks to a collision that he caused. After mis-judging his braking distance heading into the Turn 14 hairpin, the Mexican racer found himself on a collision course with Adrian Sutil’s rear wing, knocking both drivers out of the race. Sutil was able to return to the pits, albeit with expensive damage, but the combination of a destroyed rear end and a small fire over his right rear wheel saw the Force India mechanics call an end to their driver’s afternoon. “All I can say is my apologies to Adrian,” Gutierrez told Sky Sports News after the race. “It was definitely a mistake. I didn't consider the amount of speed I had on the straight and I lost a lot of downforce into that corner and tried to my best to stop the car. I should have considered a little bit more distance to brake as I approached the corner and the car in front quicker than I expected. I had nowhere to go.” Having told the stewards that he was entirely to blame for the crash, Gutierrez was issued with a five-place grid penalty for next weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix. The more experienced Hulkenberg delivered a more consistent performance for the team, and could have finished further up the pack had he not suffered issues with his right rear wheel in the pits and lost considerable time as a result. However, as the German racer conceded in his post-race comments, when leading the race he was out of sequence, competing against rivals on a vastly different tyre strategy. “It was quite a mixed race with mixed emotions,” Hulkenberg said. “It was obviously very nice to be leading again, and to be at the front battling with the top teams. I had a reasonable start and some nice battles in the first couple of laps. I was able to gain some positions, but, somehow, towards the end of the race, we were losing or lacking a little bit of pace. “Once you are in the lead or second you understandably hope for more. Nevertheless, it might not have been the true picture, as we were racing out of sequence with other people who were starting on soft tyres. But anyway, it was quite a good race. I don't think the two issues I had in pit lane made a difference between winning or losing.” More highs and lows for Sauber F1 >>> CHINA 16 GPWEEK.com // 16 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: