Nico Hulkenberg surprised both himself and his Sauber team by earning third on the grid in Monza, behind only the two Red Bull drivers.
He was helped by difficult days for Mercedes and Lotus, but nevertheless it was an impressive performance. He’s now hoping for a dry race.
“I don’t know either,” he said when asked where the performance had come from. “Really, a nice surprise to ourselves. I didn’t expect it, especially after a very difficult Friday. Yesterday we struggled a lot with the car, we were trying some different bits and bobs, but the guys have done a fantastic job to turn the car around and give me such a competitive car today.
“It was just that Q1, Q2, Q3 the car just got better and better, I think with the track improvement and with the right decision just to go for one timed lap, fuelled for one timed lap, was the right call. A burning lap which made this nice surprise happen.”
It’s worth remembering that Sauber had a second place with Sergio Perez in 2012, albeit with a more consistent car.
“Last year is a very different year. Obviously Sauber was very competitive very often last year in races. This year we have been struggling more, we’ve had a more difficult year, let’s put it this way.
“So I hope that the long run pace is good. From what I could see yesterday it should be all right. Definitely points are now the target.
“I think I’d like it to stay dry to be honest. I think that would be the easier option but we’ll take it as it comes. We haven’t run in wet or inter conditions, so it will be new to everyone. Obviously more challenging, but I’m open-minded.”