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F1 Driver Review: Esteban Gutierrez

Dec 19, 2013, 10:45 AM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of Japan - Practice Getty Images

After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship season, my colleague Chris Estrada and I are taking a look back on how each of the 23 Formula One drivers who took to the grid fared this past year.

Beginning his F1 career with a 16th-place finish in the championship was Esteban Gutierrez…

ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ

No. 12 Sauber-Ferrari
2013 Stats: 16th Place, 0 Wins, 0 Podiums, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10s, 2 Laps Led
Average Start: 16.3
Average Finish: 14.1
DNFs: 3

DiZinno says: Gutierrez had flashes of potential stardom during his first season in the sport. He’s still very young, only 21 when the year began, and matched against Nico Hulkenberg at Sauber was facing a challenging measuring stick. He was frequently made to look worse than he was in comparison to the lanky German. Too many Q1 dropouts limited his points-scoring potential, although there were races when points were possible save for a bit of luck. A solitary seventh at Suzuka is nothing to hang his hat on, though. He did just enough to merit another chance.

Estrada says: After earning the chance to drive in Formula One, Gutierrez was promptly put in a hole when he was given a car that wouldn’t get on pace until mid-season. Having to battle Sauber teammate Nico Hulkenberg, the Mexican driver was unable to give him a real challenge. It wasn’t all bad – Singapore saw him crack Q3 for the first time (the only time he dusted Hulkenberg in qualifying all year), and after finishing 12th there, he improved upon that result two weeks later with a seventh-place finish in Japan. But if he is able to come back for a second year of F1 racing, he’ll have to make substantial improvements.

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