Sauber team principal Frederic Vasseur says that the team will leave Interlagos with "mixed feelings" after a tale of two stories in the race. The Hinwil outfit recorded its best team qualifying result since 2012 on Saturday, with Marcus Ericsson and Charles Leclerc finishing in seventh and eighth respectively.
However, the rapidly improving team hit issues before the race got underway as Ericsson's diffuser began to lose pieces on the grid. His car was seen scattering more debris in the opening laps which caused him to spin and ultimately call it a day on his race.
“A disappointing end to such a great weekend," the Swede said. "I had contact with another car just after the start, and after that, the car was difficult to drive. The balance was different to the rest of the weekend and the damage became worse and worse. We had to retire from the race – a shame, especially after such a fantastic qualifying, but we will come back stronger at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.”
On the other side of the garage, Leclerc had a lonely but successful race, coming home in seventh. The Monegasque driver is now only two points behind Haas' Romain Grosjean in the drivers' championship with one race to go in the season.
“I am very happy with the race; finishing in 7th place is a positive result that we can be satisfied with. It was fun to drive on this track and adding more points to our tally to solidify our 8th position in the Constructors’ Championship is a positive feeling for the whole team. I look forward to seeing what we can do in Abu Dhabi.”
Vasseur added: "Overall, this was a positive weekend for our team. Both drivers gave strong performances in qualifying and started the race at the top of the midfield. Charles finishing the race in seventh place is a good step forward in consolidating P8 in the championship.
"We do however leave Sao Paulo with mixed feelings, as Marcus had to retire from the race. After a contact with another car, there was damage to his floor and front wing, which made it impossible for him to finish.
"Nevertheless, our pace is good, and we are fighting for positions in the championship. Our progress continues, and this is a reward for the hard work done at the track and at the factory in Switzerland over the course of this year. I look forward to finishing the season in strong form in Abu Dhabi.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing