The Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona was influenced by a huge number of pit stops. This also affected the Sauber F1 Team drivers Esteban Gutierrez and Nico Hulkenberg. Gutierrez had to stop four times and finished 11th, after coming from 19th and missing tenth place by less than half a second. Hulkenberg’s race was ruined by an early release at a pit stop, followed by a stop and go penalty. He came home in 15th.
Nico Hulkenberg: We knew that it would be a difficult race today. The start went well and, until the incident in the pit lane, we looked quite good. We planned for a three stop, but then had to convert to a four stop. But then we had the incident, which ruined the race for us. Obviously the timing wasn’t quite right, but we are a team, so we have to look into it and make sure it does not happen again. Overall the car still felt quite difficult to drive, and I think we still have some homework ahead of us.
Esteban Gutierrez: I focused on getting the most out of the car today, and it was important to achieve a result like this for me and the team. The team has given me the patience and tools to improve as a driver and this is what I could extract from the car. It was a tough race and tyre management was critical. At the beginning of the race I was quite surprised about how much I could get out of the tyres. The last two stints were a bit more difficult, but this is a step forward.
Monisha Kaltenborn, Team Principal: To finish a race without points is always disappointing. Nevertheless there were also some positives we could take from this weekend, for instance the better understanding of our car and the measures we had taken before coming here. We didn’t expect to make a huge step forward, because we knew that other competitors would also have improvements. However, our updates worked as expected, which is positive. Nevertheless, we know we have to further improve. The analysis of this weekend will help to make bigger steps in the future. Nico was in a strong position, but then the incident in the pit lane, which resulted from an early release, ruined his race. Esteban delivered a very strong performance, we are happy about it and we hope this will give him confidence.
Tom McCullough, Head of Track Engineering: Both drivers had a strong start to the race. Unfortunately with Nico the incident in the pits cost him the chance of a good result. Esteban drove a very strong race and worked well with the engineers to get the most out of the car. Although he started from 19th, he missed tenth place by less than half a second. Our race pace was stronger today than in previous races, so we can take comfort from that, and we can look forward to the race in Monaco.
Check out our Grand Prix gallery, here.