An elated Nico Hulkenberg has heralded his charge to fourth in the Korean Grand Prix as one of the best drives of his career so far, equalling his best-ever result in a grand prix as well as claiming Sauber’s best result of the season.
Having started seventh, Hulkenberg made a good start to lie fifth and lead a train of cars including Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Mark Webber. Despite their best efforts, the German driver remained ahead until after the second safety car period. On the restart, he made good use of the Sauber’s strong straight line speed to overtake fourth-placed Lewis Hamilton before defending valiantly from the Mercedes in the eighteen laps that followed.
“Today I drove one of the best races in my career so far,” Hulkenberg said. “I have had cars in the mirrors before, but today there were a lot and it was a bit annoying. Lewis really put the pressure on at the end, especially in the last sector. I knew I needed to get out of turn one well. The car’s traction was very good today, so that kept me alive against Fernando and then Lewis later on.”
Sauber have endured a difficult season amid financial uncertainty, and team principal Monisha Kaltenborn made no secret of her happiness following the race.
“We went into the race with high expectations and it is a great feeling that we were able to meet these through our own strengths,” she said. “Nico put in a superb performance and, once again, great fight, as it definitely was not easy to keep those cars behind him.”
Esteban Gutierrez also equalled his best-ever result in Formula One down in eleventh, capping off a good weekend for the team.