Nico Hulkenberg denies signing 2014 deal as Esteban Gutierrez scores first points

Sauber celebrate first double-scoring result of the season

By Pete Gill.   Last Updated: 13/10/13 11:42am

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Fresh from another impressive result in the Japanese GP, the in-demand Nico Hulkenberg has denied finalising his future amid speculation he has signed a contract for the 2014 season.

Although Hulkenberg's intentions are still unknown, it's understood by Sky Sports F1 that the 26-year-old, linked with Lotus as a replacement for the outgoing Kimi Raikkonen, has put pen to paper on a deal for next year.

However, the Sauber driver told Sky F1 after finishing sixth at the Japanese GP: "I'm sure it will happen in the next couple of weeks, I'm confident we will get something sorted."

Hulkenberg, who was also been touted for a return to Force India, has finished in the points at the last four events and was set for a top-four finish at Suzuka before his ageing Pirelli tyres lost grip in the final laps.

"For me to come away with sixth is very satisfying, but the tyre degradation at the end was too much, offering Fernando [Alonso] and Kimi the chance to pass me," he admitted.

Yet there was no such bittersweet reflection from Esteban Gutierrez as the youngster celebrated his first points-paying result in F1. In doing so, the Mexican became the first of the five rookies on the grid to score a point this season.

"We will try to keep going with this rhythm and be consistent from now until the end of the season," said Gutierrez after beating Nico Rosberg to seventh place.

The two drivers were seen to exchange words before entering the media pen, and Gutierrez later revealed: "He just said 'good job' and it was a great race. He was very quick and I tried to defend as best as possible.

"It has been a lot of work to get up to this point and, while it has not been an easy path, I think it has been a very solid one. Knowing we can achieve something like this, you really go forward and do your best and push."

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