Car and driver trouble ends Sauber’s points run

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Against the run of play, Sauber failed to add to their points haul in India while Force India edged away from them in the constructors’ championship.

Heading into the race it seemed inevitable the resurgent Sauber would pass their rivals for fifth place. Now the gap between them has opened up to 23 points.

Nico Hulkenberg was on course for at least eighth place when he suffered a failure on his car.

“When I was braking into the last turn something clicked and all of a sudden my brakes were gone,” he said. “Something must have been broken on the car.”

“Following that I pitted and went out again, but something wasn’t right.”

This was a double blow for Sauber as Paul di Resta inherited Hulkenberg’s position, followed by Adrian Sutil.

Esteban Gutierrez scored his first points for Sauber in Japan but failed to add to their tally in India after a poor weekend. He was almost a second slower than Hulkenberg in qualifying and picked up a drive-through penalty during the race.

“We are very disappointed, because Nico was clearly in the points before a technical problem forced him to retire,” said team principal Monisha Kaltenborn. “Even if this was a setback today it is important for us to know that our competitiveness is still there.”

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”