Nico Hulkenberg gave his chances of securing a move to a top team a shot in the arm with a strong weekend at Monza.
The Sauber driver stunned the paddock on Saturday by qualifying third on the grid, ahead of the two Ferraris. Hulkenberg said the team “struggled a lot with the car” on Friday and praised their efforts in getting it on the pace.
“I hope the long run pace is good,” he mused ahead of the grand prix. Sauber have had difficulty getting their C32 to make its tyres last, but in the race Hulkenberg enjoyed one of the quickest cars at the end of a stint, particularly at the end of the race where he was catching Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Felipe Massa.
He finished the race in fifth having withstood pressure from Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes throughout.
Hulkenberg said it was “not realistic” that he would be able to finish ahead of the Red Bulls and Ferraris:
“I lost two places right at the start, but then the pace was good and, especially towards the end, I was able to catch up quite a bit again.”
“It’s a very nice result for the team, and finally we have some points again,” he said. “I hope this will give us some momentum, so we can carry this form on to the next couple of races.”
Hulkenberg’s result more than doubled his and Sauber’s points score so far, putting them on 17.