Sauber F1 Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn confessed she was surprised to see both of her drivers, Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson, qualify inside the top-ten for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix.

The pair will share the fifth row of the grid for Sunday’s 56-lap race, an impressive result that exceeded the team’s expectations after Saturday’s final free practice session. It was the first time the team has managed to get both cars to qualify inside the top-ten since the 2013 Korean Grand Prix.

“This is a strong qualifying result, which came as a little bit of a surprise considering the lap times in the final practice session,” Kaltenborn said after qualifying.

“Looking at our strong long-runs yesterday, it was important to also be fast in qualifying on a single lap, in order to have good grid positions.

“We managed to achieve this, which is great. Both drivers used the full potential of the car and were rewarded by making it into Q3. Now we will concentrate fully on the race.”

After the team claimed its first points’ finish in more than a year when Nasr and Ericsson finished fifth and eighth respectively in Australia, the team came crashing back to earth next time out in Malaysia.

Ericsson qualified inside the top-ten, only to throw away his chances of a points finish when he spun out of the race, while Nasr damaged his front wing in an opening lap incident with Kimi Räikkönen’s Ferrari and finished in twelfth place.

Speaking after qualifying ninth-fastest, Nasr (pictured, top) expressed confidence that the Swiss team had returned to form.

“We seem to have the cars back on the pace we expected to have here,” the Brazilian added.

” I am confident for the race tomorrow. Hopefully we can get back into the points, and I will do my best to finish the race in the top ten.”

Image via Sauber Motorsport AG

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.