Singapore GP: Sauber vindicated by Esteban Gutierrez's big step

Esteban Gutierrez's strong qualifying performance for the Singapore Grand Prix, reaching Q3 for the first time in his Formula 1 career, came as no surprise to the Sauber team

Singapore GP: Sauber vindicated by Esteban Gutierrez's big step

Sauber's head of trackside engineering, Tom McCullough, had suggested after the Italian GP that Gutierrez was on the brink of outqualifying lead driver Nico Hulkenberg, which the Mexican achieved for the first time in Singapore.

McCullough believes Gutierrez's performance had been on the cards for several races.

"He has been very close to doing it many times but ultimately it hasn't quite happened," McCullough told AUTOSPORT.

"Here, he put it together when it really mattered, did what he needed to and delivered.

"The overall approach through the race weekend has been good, building up through the sessions.

"You only have to be quick in the important laps in Q2 and Q1. It's about understanding the right way of working, which he is learning a lot from Nico, who learned a lot from Rubens [Barrichello, at Williams] in his first season in the same way."

CONFIDENCE BOOST

McCullough also believes the performance will be vital for Gutierrez's confidence.

Gutierrez has been knocked out in Q1 eight times so far this season and previously had failed to start a grand prix higher than 14th.

"When the car isn't that competitive, it's easy with a little bit less experience to be the one knocked out in Q1," said McCullough.

"It's not good for the driver confidence but today he has done what we all know he's very capable of doing.

"It's nice to put it together and it will give him some good confidence to go forwards."

Gutierrez talked about the need to take a more aggressive approach to qualifying strategy in the build-up to the weekend.

He believes this change in approach is key to his success in Singapore.

"To have a more aggressive strategy, first of all," said Gutierrez when asked what the key to his qualifying performance was.

"We made some mistakes in practice but it was the only way to find the edge of performance and to know where the edge is in extracting the most from the tyres.

"It's a great feeling to know we have found a solution to that."

McCullough is hopeful Gutierrez can carry his form over into the race, in which it is hoped both cars will fight for points.

"Part one is done," said McCullough. "Generally, Esteban has raced very well for us, his [tyre] management is good, he's a bright lad and doesn't do silly things.

"Now the next step is to race from a better position with the big boys."

Gutierrez did not set a lap time in Q3 because he did not have any fresh super-soft rubber left, meaning he was unable to try and repeat his seventh place in Q2.

shares
comments
Singapore GP: Sergio Perez accepts he needs to improve for McLaren

Previous article

Singapore GP: Sergio Perez accepts he needs to improve for McLaren

Next article

Door left open for New Jersey F1 race on 2014 grand prix calendar

Door left open for New Jersey F1 race on 2014 grand prix calendar
Load comments
Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner Plus

Remembering Switzerland’s first F1 winner

Stepping up to F1 in 1962, Jo Siffert shone with Rob Walker Racing Team and BRM before his career was abruptly ended in a fatal crash at Brands Hatch in 1971. Kevin Turner looked back at the life of Switzerland's first F1 winner on the 50th anniversary of his death

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat Plus

What Verstappen is risking with his current stance on 2021 F1 world title defeat

OPINION: Max Verstappen is back in the lead of the 2021 Formula 1 drivers’ championship, with the season’s final flyaway events set to get underway in the USA this weekend. But a defensive stance he’s recently adopted could have a lasting impact for the Red Bull driver when it comes to his chances of defeating Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest Plus

The hidden Ferrari struggle that Sainz’s recent charge put to rest

Despite appearing to adjust to life as a Ferrari driver with relative ease, it was far from straightforward under the surface for Carlos Sainz Jr. But, having made breakthroughs in rather different routes at the Russian and Turkish races, he’s now targeting even greater feats for the rest of the Formula 1 season

Formula 1
Oct 20, 2021
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Formula 1
Oct 18, 2021
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021