Hulkenberg impresses with ‘best of the rest’ at Monza

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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.

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.”