Sutil wants to see the checkered flag in Spain

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Simply finishing a race may not seem like much of an achievement in Formula 1, but after three straight retirements, Sauber’s Adrian Sutil is focusing on doing exactly that at next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

The Swiss team has made a poor start to the season, scoring zero points and has rarely looked capable of a top ten finish. Both Sutil and teammate Esteban Gutierrez will be already feeling the pressure given that Sergey Sirotkin, Simona de Silvestro and Giedo van der Garde have all been testing in recent weeks with aims of a full-time seat. However, the German driver remains focused on his own performances at the start of the European season.

“We will be travelling to Barcelona with some car updates, which I hope will help us to improve our performance,” Sutil explained. “Obviously, I expect more than in the last races. After three retirements in a row, we need to finish this race.

“I am looking forward, and I think that our performance will be stronger than in the previous races.”

Like all of the other teams, Sauber will be bringing its first major upgrade package to the race on the outskirts of Barcelona, and having reduced the weight of the car, it should be easier to work with for both the drivers and the engineers.

The circuit is a mix of fast straights and more technical sections, meaning that a well-balanced setup is key to doing well in Spain.

“The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a nice track with high aerodynamic demands on the car,” Sutil said. “We have to find a compromise in terms of the car’s aerodynamic set-up and, with one setting the first and second sectors will be good, but the last sector will be a disadvantage, or vice versa.”

Sutil has recorded a top ten finish at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya just once before, and unless Sauber has a particularly significant upgrade package in store, perhaps just finishing the race is the best that he can expect.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.