Formula 1 News

"Perfect lap" puts Hulkenberg fifth on the grid

Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg qualified sixth, but will start fifth in Abu Dhabi after Kimi Raikkonen was excluded from qualifying
Saturday, November 2, 2013

November 2nd, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Nico Hulkenberg continued his recent run of impressive form by setting the sixth fastest time in the final part of qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Hulkenberg will line up fifth on the grid as a result of Kimi Raikkonen being excluded from qualifying after his Lotus failed post-qualifying scrutineering.

This qualifying performance marks the fourth time in a row and fifth in the last six races that Hulkenberg has qualified in the top 10. He's has finished four of the last five races in the points, an impressive feat in a car that earlier in the season was well off the pace.

Hulkenberg's team-mate, Esteban Gutierrez, was eliminated in Q1 after hitting traffic on his first flying lap of his final run in the session, and then miscalculating the amount of time he had left and missing out on a second flying lap at the end of the session. He will start 16th as a result of Raikkonen's penalty.

This is what the Sauber drivers had to say after qualifying:

Nico Hulkenberg: “It was a perfect lap and I could really get the maximum out of the car. Overtaking won’t be easy on this track. There are the two DRS zones, and in the past there have been a few overtaking manoeuvres, but I think we have a good top-speed. We were able to be in the top ten all weekend and I am confident this will continue to be the case tomorrow as well.”

Esteban Gutierrez: “It’s very disappointing to start [P16], because our pace is really good. We were on a push, pull, push strategy and ran out of time for the second push. The call was tricky, as on the first lap I ran into traffic and for the second push we ran out of time, so I didn’t get the chance to set a lap. It was clearly a mistake, and we were only missing a few seconds.”

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