Marcus Ericsson and Sauber admit they were “a bit lucky” to score the final point on offer at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Lining up 13th on the grid, the Swede had a strong start and overhauled Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat at Les Combes. Although the Russian quickly reclaimed his position, Ericsson ran in the top 10 over the opening laps but then slipped down the order.
Still, the Caterham refugee managed to remain on the cusp of the points-paying positions throughout the race and was elevated to 10th on the penultimate lap when third-placed Sebastian Vettel suffered a spectacular tyre failure on his Ferrari.
“Quite early in the race we realised I had some debris stuck to the floor, which made us lose downforce in the first stint,” said Ericsson. “We could not keep up with the competition, so we lost some ground, which was a bit frustrating.
“For the second stint we cleared the debris away and I was able to start to push more. Even with that, the pace was not as strong as we expected. We were a bit lucky in the end, and we were able to score one point. For me it is great to be back in the points for the second race in a row.”
Team-mate Felipe Nasr also had his fair share of troubles at Spa: The Brazilian rookie initially struggled with braking issues before picking up a slow puncture on his front left tyre.
With Sauber finally receiving an important upgrade to its Ferrari power unit, team principal Monisha Kaltenborn admits the Swiss outfit had travelled to Belgium with higher ambitions.
“It was a difficult race weekend, and we expected a bit more from it, she said. “During the race it was important for us to get through flawlessly. Despite having some issues, we still managed to score one point with a bit of luck at the end.”
Ericsson’s latest points finish enables the Swede to edge out McLaren-Honda’s Jenson Button for 17th in the 2015 Drivers’ standings, while Sauber remains eighth in the Constructors’ race.
Click here for Sunday's gallery of the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.