Italian GP: Nico Hulkenberg finishes fifth, as Button suffers
Sauber's Nico Hulkenberg secured his best finish of the season as he came fifth at the Italian Grand Prix.
The German driver finished behind the Red Bull and Ferrari pairings, which was a huge improvement on his 13th in Belgium last time around.
Italian GP stats
- Track temperature: 33C
- Air temperature: 26C
- Ave wind speed: 2.1 metres per second
- Humidity: 58%
- Fastest lap: L Hamilton 1 min 25.849 secs
- Fastest speeds:
- Sector 1: S Vettel 330 kph (205mph)
- Sector 2: L Hamilton 338kph (210mph)
- Sector 3: K Raikkonen 315kph (195mph)
- Speed Trap: E Gutierrez 341kph (211mph)
"It's a great result - another great performance by the team today," he said.
"Fifth was probably the right result for us - we only finished behind Red Bull and Ferrari, which was great."
The result was the 26-year-old's best since November 2012 when he finished fifth in Brazil, with his highest ever grand prix finish fourth place in Belgium just two months earlier, when he drove for Force India.
"Despite starting third, it was always clear keeping the Ferrari and Red Bulls behind was not realistic," he added.
"I lost two places right at the start, but then the pace was good and, especially towards the end, I was able to catch up quite a bit again. I kept the Mercedes behind with Nico leaving no room for me making any mistakes."
- 2012 Lewis Hamilton - McLaren
- 2011 Sebastian Vettel - Red Bull
- 2010 Fernando Alonso - Ferrari
- 2009 Rubens Barrichello - Brawn
- 2008 - Sebastian Vettel - Toro Rosso
Sauber team principal Monisha Kaltenborn added: "We could see in qualifying it wasn't looking bad, we were looking at maybe sixth or seventh but for Nico to drive like he did was fantastic.
"This results show we are moving in the right direction and that's what we all need."
Speculation over the future of Hulkenberg is set to end this week when Ferrari announce their drivers for next season. He has been linked with the Italians and Sunday's drive will have done his chances no harm.
The news in Monza was not so good for McLaren's Jenson Button, who finished in 10th place, one below his starting position.
"I had a bad start when my clutch slipped, and I dropped a few places," he said.
"That first stint was quite good fun, but, once I got stuck behind Daniel [Ricciardo], there was no way of getting past him."
"We didn't get the gear ratios quite right today. Consequently, as our fuel loads decreased, and our cornering speeds should have increased, we were hampered by our rev-limiters, and that made it easier for the cars behind to overtake us and harder for us to overtake the cars ahead of us."
Another man left disappointed was Scot Paul Di Resta whose race was over inside the first lap, as he rear-ended Romain Grosjean and was later reprimanded following an investigation by the stewards.
"It has been one of those weekends to forget, starting with the brake failure yesterday and the early retirement today, he said.
"I just got caught out going into the second chicane because the cars ahead of me got backed up - I guess they were reacting to the tussle going on ahead of them.
"I locked both fronts trying to stop the car and ended up hitting Grosjean. Unfortunately it was too late to take avoiding action. Now we need to look forward to Singapore and put this one behind us."