Gutierrez ‘comfortable’ with tire challenge

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Sauber driver Esteban Gutierrez feels comfortable with the challenge posed by the new Pirelli tires, although the Mexican admitted he has more work to do.

“There is a certain tire management thing, the new tire run, where you have to compromise certain sectors to get the third sector right. I think this compromise is one of the things I need to work on.

“To be honest it was not that difficult,” said Gutierrez when asked by the media about getting used to the new tires. “Once you get a good understanding of the tires, there’s a possibility to manage them and I feel very comfortable with that.”

Gutierrez ran for the final time in Barcelona on Saturday, with teammate Nico Hulkenburg closing the test on Sunday. He finished a strong sixth yesterday, ahead of former teammate Sergio Perez and Red Bull’s Mark Webber.

“We had also good laps in the morning, good new tire session, and good race simulation in the afternoon. For me, for my experience was a very positive day.”

Winter testing will have given Gutierrez time to accustom himself with the Sauber C32 as well as the new tires, and he will be hoping to impress on his Grand Prix debut in two weeks time. His only previous Grand Prix experience came in Friday practice for the 2012 Indian Grand Prix, where he finished in a lowly 20th place.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”