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GP Week : Issue 190
On saturday, a jubilant sauber were counting their blessings after a season-best qualifying effort from esteban Gutierrez saw the swiss team line up in 10th and 11th on sunday’s grid. But a difficult race netted sauber only two points from singapore. Nico Hulkenberg’s ninth-place finish saw Sauber increased its points tally to nineteen, but the haul could have been bigger had the German racer not been told to cede position to McLaren’s Sergio Perez after he left the track to avoid a collision, a move race control deemed had given Sauber an unfair advantage. Gutierrez, meanwhile, was unable to capitalise on his strong qualifying, and cited tyre degradation as the reason he slipped down the order. The Mexican racer had out-qualified his teammate for the first time, but finished the Singapore Grand Prix two places behind the man in the identical equipment. “ We expected a better result today,” admitted a downcast Gutierrez. “Our race pace was not good enough, especially at the beginning as I was fighting a lot with the car. At times I pushed a bit too much, had a lot of oversteer and the tyres were degrading. It was one of the toughest races I have ever had. I did the best I could and this is where we finished.” In the closing laps of the race, when the order on track was changing with every passing second, Sauber were one of the big losers, thanks to a pit stop strategy that saw both Hulkenberg and Gutierrez struggling for grip. The younger driver was the worst affected, and on lap 49 Gutierrez was overtaken by seemingly half the grid. But with no traction left to work with, the best the Mexican racer could do was bring the car to the finish in one piece. Hulkenberg was philosophical about the race result, saying after the flag: “All in all we can be happy. We brought home two points. To be honest, I didn’t expect much more than that. You can’t expect that every weekend will be like Monza now, but we improved significantly.” Sauber scrounging for points 34 GPWEEK.com // 34 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> SINGAPORE