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Bottas, di Resta and Gutierrez have something to prove
Formula One’s ever-enthralling midfield battle has extra edge in the closing rounds of the season.
The likes of Nico Hulkenberg (Sauber) and Paul di Resta (Force India) are still trying to convince bigger teams to take them on board, while the plight of Hulkenerg’s rookie teammate Esteban Guttierez and his counterparts, Valtteri Bottas and Giedo van der Garde, of challenging their more experienced teammates in difficult cars while learning Grands Prix tracks continue.
Nonetheless, all three of these rookies have stepped up their performances in recent races. Gutierrez made it into Q3 for the first time in Singapore and will want to continue that trend this weekend. Bottas, who has done an admirable job alongside Pastor Maldonado this season as Williams has toiled, will hope just to make Q2, while van der Garde will want to once again edge Charles Pic at Caterham, something he has managed in some fashion of late.
This is particularly interesting because all three will be under intense scrutiny as their teams, and others, plan for 2014.
That’s where Hulkenberg and di Resta come in, too. The former’s done just about all he can to prove he is deserving of a top seat, while the latter has been error-prone just as his car has slipped down the pecking order; a concerning combination if the Scot is to relieve himself of midfield machinery.
For all these drivers, Korea will likely not define their careers—but it could play a big part in where they end up next season at least.