February 25th, 2013 (GMM).- Esteban Gutierrez is expecting his Sauber teammate to outpace him early in 2013.
A test driver for the Swiss team since 2010, the 21-year-old Mexican has finally moved into the race cockpit this year, as his Telmex-backed countryman Sergio Perez moves to McLaren.
Team founder Peter Sauber admitted earlier this month that he would like Gutierrez to match the more experienced Nico Hulkenberg "right from the beginning" in 2013.
Gutierrez said: "He has three years of experience, and I cannot compare with that, but for me he is definitely a great reference.
"I will use the opportunity to adapt quickly and be at his level this season, but just not right at the beginning," he told the Spanish newspaper Marca in an interview.
Nevertheless, the young Mexican has looked strong during the pre-season testing. On Friday and under the ugly weather conditions of Barcelona, he slid just once and completed 96 laps bringing good times in the process.
Hulkenberg also posted good numbers, which is not only an indicator of the drivers' performance, but also that the C32 clearly seems a step up from last year. Sauber's aggressive design, new livery and new drivers for sure translate to motivation running high, and so expectations are too. Here is more were Hulkenberg has the edge given his experience in handling pressure and the need to deliver.
Last season, Sauber improved and passed emerging Force India, a trend that seems will continue this time around.