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Rookie diary - Sauber's Esteban Gutierrez 11 Jun 2013

Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Preparations, Montreal, Canada, Thursday, 6 June 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber C32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Race Day, Montreal, Canada, Sunday, 9 June 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Race Day, Montreal, Canada, Sunday, 9 June 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber C32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Practice, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, 10 May 2013 Josef Leberer (SUI) Sauber Physio and Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Montreal, Canada, Saturday, 8 June 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber C32,
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 (L to R): Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber and Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 11 May 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber C32 locks up.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Saturday, 25 May 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, Practice, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Thursday, 23 May 2013 Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Sauber C32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd7, Canadian Grand Prix, Practice, Montreal, Canada, Friday, 7 June 2013

Mexico’s Esteban Gutierrez became accustomed to winning races in GP2 last year. This year he’s learning just how much harder Formula One racing is, as he chases that elusive first point in his debut season with Sauber.

In the latest installment of our series charting the personal and professional progress of this year’s F1 newcomers, Gutierrez reflects on the lessons he has learned so far in 2013…


“So far my rookie season has been very complex with very different kinds of results and experiences. I am focusing to make every experience another step of improvement, step by step.

“In that respect Barcelona was a very positive step, not only result-wise but also because of my feeling throughout the whole weekend. The things that I want to achieve as a driver - adapting to Formula One - were for the first time fully achieved at that Barcelona weekend. Now I want to carry that experience into the next races.

“It was not necessarily the 11th place I scored in Spain that mattered - as it is a place that brings you no points at all - but it was the feeling that I have fully arrived at a Formula One weekend. I was able to make the most out of the potential of the car and was finding the right consistency throughout the weekend - and that is not so easy for a newbie!

“To be consistent and make no mistakes and at the same time be competitive - that was something that I felt was a significant personal achievement. So, it wasn’t a race win, but the impression of having fully ‘inhaled’ Formula One. That was a very special feeling.

“Obviously the car has not been as quick we would have hoped so I think my feedback is important - and my ability to be consistent is an important subtopic in that development.

“My motivation, of course, has never dropped. It is one thing not having the most competitive car, but another important thing is to be able to find the right window for the car and work flawlessly within that window. If you know that your car is capable of finishing in tenth, 11th or 15th position, then being able to deliver that result - and hopefully at times doing better by taking advantage of the mistakes of others - is what brings the real achievement and what is important to move on to higher levels.

“Of course, you always want to do better. I always wish I hadn’t started the season as I did, but on the other hand it is probably a reality that you cannot expect more in your rookie season.

“So you have to learn to accept your reality and have to find the balance for yourself between all the different things. As I said, in Barcelona I had that balance and it gave me a lot of satisfaction and spurs me on to come to that point again.

“What I can say is that I have to improve in qualifying. Getting a perfect lap - that is something I still have to work on. In the race it hasn’t been that bad - the speed has actually been pretty good. When I spoke of balance before, getting the right balance between qualifying and race is high on my agenda.

“My team mate, Nico (Hulkenberg), is quite a consistent driver - and quick. To have him as a reference is a really good thing. So if I am as quick as he is - or sometimes even quicker - then I know that I am doing really well. Of course it’s not easy to be quicker than him, but that is what my goal is right now: to be quicker than him and at the same time to get the most out of the car.

“The amount of options that you have as a driver in setting up your car to suit your driving, the work with the car and the team - that is what is fascinating and interesting and I am completely concentrating on that. Of course being a Formula One driver conjures up all sorts of images, but I can say here and now that all these high-life fantasies are null and void - the car is my star. You also have to focus on the sponsors: they are not only sponsors, but friends - like Carlos (Slim) is a good friend and it is always special to share the event with him. Generally it is the opportunity that it brings being a Formula One driver - to be able to live your dream. Isn’t that the biggest bliss in life?

“You are incredibly busy as an F1 driver. When I was in GP2 I had seven or eight personal sponsors and now I have none - that gives a little hint as to the time consumption of Formula One. There are 19 races on the F1 calendar - double the number I had before - and with such intense weekends that it is important to get back to the team’s base and speak about our joint experiences. It’s also important to find a way to make some space in your head. My job outside the race weekends is to sleep well, to eat well and to exercise - these are my three lucky methods to relax.

“The recent race in Monaco was very special. The glamour is nice, but performance is what’s written in huge capital letters in my head. Yes, it’s nice to see all those yachts, hear about all these fantastic parties, but for me the real star of Monaco is the track. There has been so much said about the Monaco track, so everything I could say would just be a recap. I just can humbly say for myself that it is very special to race there - a real adventure. Of course I would have loved to have done better, but I will take another shot at it next year.

“To be honest, I have a great feeling before every single event. There is not really one special one - probably with the exception of Austin as there will be a huge number of Mexicans there. That will maybe be a more special feeling than Monaco.”

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