Gutierrez targeting Hulkenberg's level by season end

Esteban Gutierrez with  Nico Hulkenberg

Esteban Gutierrez with Nico Hulkenberg

Esteban Gutierrez is expecting his Sauber teammate Nico Hulkenberg to outpace him early in 2013, but the Mexican is targeting to be at the level of the highly rated German by the end of the season.

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.