Behind the leading four teams, Nico Hulkenberg led Formula 1’s midfield runners in Malaysia with an eighth place finish. The Sauber driver isn’t quite as bullish heading into China this week.
“The circuit in Shanghai is not particularly one of my favorite tracks, nevertheless it’s a demanding one, especially the first few corners and the corners before the back straight,” he said. “Tires and strategy will be very important during the weekend.”
Hulkenberg had his first start for Sauber last race after a fuel pump failure sidelined him in Australia. He drove in Malaysia with damage but still fought through.
“At the beginning of the race in Malaysia my rear wing endplate was damaged, which caused a loss of downforce,” he said. “I have a better feeling now I have driven my first race in the C32, especially because we were able to collect a lot of information. In Malaysia we scored points and that is also my goal for China.”
Rookie teammate Esteban Gutierrez, who has been solid if unspectacular in his first two races, has yet to turn a lap of the Shanghai International Circuit.
“I don’t actually know the track yet, so it will be an interesting challenge again to learn the circuit and then to develop confidence throughout the practice sessions,” said the Mexican driver. “I have heard it is a very complex track with some fast corners and, at the same time, is very technical.
“Learning a new track all depends on the approach you take,” he added. “You can learn a lot through video footage, your engineer’s advice on the right gears in different parts of the track and, most important of all, the more confidence you have in your car the easier it is to learn a new one. Compared to the first race in Melbourne, I now know the car so I can focus on learning the track. My goal is to improve and I’m looking forward to that.”