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GP Week : Issue 192
A sixth- and seventh-place finish for sauber in suzuka has not only extended the team's lead over Toro Rosso in the constructors’ standings, but puts the swiss racers within striking distance of Force India with just four rounds remaining. After both Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez both qualified in the top 10 in Korea, Hulkenberg was at pains to emphasise that keeping Force India and Toro Rosso behind them on track was still the team's main objective, but after keeping Lewis Hamilton at bay in Korea and battling the likes of Fernando Alonso in Japan, Sauber's ambitions can be revised upwards. Hulkenberg conceded that the team’s pace was something of a surprise, and the German racer was relishing the opportunity to score more points before the end of the season. “I managed to keep both Ferraris behind me for a long time, even if it wasn't enough as my tyres just gave up,” he said after the race. “ We were fighting throughout the race today. Just after my second pit stop I was surprised I was able to pull away a bit from Fernando [Alonso], but he was probably saving his tyres. It was a great team result and I'm fairly confident we can fight for points again in India.” Esteban Gutierrez was a little less reserved in his enthusiasm. The Mexican racer scored his first Formula One points in seventh place on Sunday afternoon, the latest peak in the rookie’s upward trajectory that began in Spa. Since Belgium, Gutierrez’ confidence has improved from weekend to weekend, as was shown by his superbly timed move on Jean- Eric Vergne through Turn One on lap 38. “F inally I can feel great satisfaction after the race,” he enthused. “It has beenalotofworktogetuptothis point and, while it has not been an easy path, I think it has been a very solid one. Knowing we can achieve something like this, you really go forward and do your best and push. Even though the last few laps were very difficult with Nico Rosberg behind me, it was overall a great race. I want to thank the team as is has done a great job today. Also, many happy returns to Peter Sauber on his 70th birthday.” Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn echoed her drivers’ sentiments. “This is a fantastic result for us, especially on Peter's birthday,” she said. “ We hope he is happy with this. Peter Sauber always focused on the interests of the team, and for that he deserves the utmost gratitude and respect.” Sauber – from strength to strength 33 GPWEEK.com // 33 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> JAPAN