The Sauber F1 Team showed clear progress in qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.
After the season’s first two races the engineers took some measures which proved to be effective. Nico Hülkenberg made it into Q3, but then decided to save tyres for the race tomorrow. He didn’t set a lap time and finished P10, giving him free choice of the tyre compound for the start of the race. Teammate Esteban Gutiérrez made a mistake on his quick lap in Q1 and ended up 18th.
Sauber C32-Ferrari (Chassis 03/Ferrari 056)
Qualifying: 18th in Q1 (1:37.990 min / soft tyres)
3rd practice: 17th (1:37.740 min / soft tyres / 20 laps)
“Well, it’s quite a disappointing qualifying result. It was very challenging to put a first quick lap together with only one chance. It is very critical and I was trying to push a little too hard and ended up making a small mistake, which cost us a lot. I will improve on that side and make sure everything I am doing in the car is very precise. On top of that, it is very challenging with these tyres. I feel very sorry for the team, as we had the potential to easily make it into Q2 and then to fight to get into Q3. The speed which shows the potential of the car is motivating, but we still need to put everything together, and that includes from my side.”
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal:
“We are very happy about this result. During all practice sessions the team worked in a very focused way. After the last race our engineers put into place measures on the car and their effects have been seen here. This is a very important step for the team and also significant in order to exploit the potential of the car. Nico put in an outstanding lap in Q2 and showed our progress on the track. For Esteban, we hope he will get some opportunities in the race and will be able to use them.”
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering:
“It’s nice to finally have a dry qualifying session to see where we stand compared to our competitors. We’ve been working very hard to improve the car since the start of the season. Nico put in an excellent lap in Q2. With regard to the race tomorrow, we elected to keep new tyres, and hopefully that will work out for us. Unfortunately, Esteban didn’t make it through to Q2. It was very tight, and a small mistake ended up being very costly. But he will learn from that, and there are plenty opportunities for him tomorrow.”
Sauber F1 Team