Kaltenborn praises Hulkenberg’s fighting spirit

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Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn has praised Nico Hulkenberg’s fighting spirit following a difficult start to the season for the German driver.

Hulkenberg failed to start the Australian Grand Prix due to a fuel system failure, but despite this setback he managed to finish a strong P8 in Malaysia. He did make his displeasure with the team known though, telling them “we have work to do” over the radio at the end of the race.

“Of course you can see it’s tough for us to keep certain cars behind us,” said Kaltenborn. “But I think that Nico did a very good job and fought as well as he could.

“He fought a lot but still he could hang on to them, which was very good. We see in him a very efficient driver and a fast driver.”

Kaltenborn also told Autosport that the team was slightly behind schedule following Hulkenberg’s poor luck in Australia, but she was confident that Sauber could emulate their successful 2012 season this year.

“Of course we lost out on collecting all of the data we could in the first race. Importantly now with the data we’ve collected, we analyse it properly at home because we need an understanding of that to see where we can still improve.

“For us we can clearly say that we are convinced in the potential of the car.”

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”