Sauber F1 “need to keep working hard” as “better pace” is required to score points — Pujolar

Photo Credit: Sauber
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Following a double Q1 elimination on Saturday, Sauber decided to roll the dice and change the rear wings on both cars, starting from pit lane in the Canadian Grand Prix.

In reality, Valtteri Bottas was the one who was likely to do anything with it. Zhou Guanyu crashed twice in practice, and he simply had no pace all weekend as he struggled with the C44.

The Finnish driver ran in P12 following the first safety car. Sauber decided not to fit new inters, along with Tsunoda and Ocon. It paid off as he gained track position and fended off Carlos Sainz. The 10-time Grand Prix winner was also applying plenty of pressure on Daniel Ricciardo.

However, the gamble made by the Hinwil-based team to pit earlier than most for dries did not pay off. On warm inters, Sainz, Perez and Hülkenberg overcut the Finn, with Gasly and Magnussen overtaking him on track.

In the end, Bottas crossed the line to finish P13, 10s away from the points as he suffered with graining in the final laps.

Post-race, the team’s Racing Director Xevi Pujolar explained the rear wing change, tyre calls and a lack of pace that saw them miss out on points.

“In the end it didn’t pay off [the rear wing swap]. But given the conditions that we were expecting, we thought that […] and also always here, many things can happen during the race, so we thought to take the opportunity and see if we could take advantage.

“I think at one point, even towards the end of the inter, from inter to dry, we thought there is a chance when, if on that switch from inter to dry we wanted to go on the early side and just take advantage to see if we could gain a few positions, points were just a couple of seconds ahead of us.

“But it didn’t work. Even with the configuration that we had, getting out of the box, we struggled more than the competition.

“We could see that Magnussen went one lap earlier than us [to slicks] and we could not even match his out lap. So at that point, the points were game over for us.

“We struggled a bit more on the dry, but anyway, we tried and we just need to keep working hard.

“I think, as we said this morning, everything is very close, we are just on the wrong side of it.

“The thing is [on keeping Bottas out on used inters after the first safety car], it depends how much water, because our inter, we were ready to box, but we checked actually how it was our inter with all the data and also with what we could see, and it was in a decent condition.

“And if it doesn’t get very wet, actually a used inter sometimes is performing better than a new inter, depending on the amount of water.

“That’s why we thought that we changed to a new one on Zhou, but we kept Valtteri out, tried to gain advantage, and at that point it worked out, so that was good.

“I think in general, from where we are starting and what we have done in the race, we are reasonably happy in the way how we operated, it’s just that we need a bit better pace really.”

Sauber remains last in the Constructors’ Championship. The team has yet to score a point this season.