Pascal Wehrlein: “Last Sunday was like a win for our team”


Pascal Wehrlein - Credit: Manor Racing

Pascal Wehrlein arrives at Silverstone this weekend with added confidence after breaking through to a points finish last weekend at the Red Bull Ring, securing the first points for the Manor Racing team since they were taken over at the beginning of 2016.

The German drive drove a strong race in Austria, feeling the team finally took advantage of the opportunity presented to them, with Wehrlein claiming the final point on the final lap when Sergio Perez crashed out with brake failure ahead of him.

“It’s been a busy few days since we left Austria on cloud nine, but race day there is still very fresh in my mind,” revealed Wehrlein. “It helps that I’ve had so many interviews since, in which I’ve been able to relive it over and over.

“What was most special is being able to stand up in front of the whole team and thank them for all the hard work that got us into that position. I might be driving the car, but it’s always a team effort. Not everyone can go to the races, so it’s important to give them the same feeling we all had in Austria last Sunday.

“We always talk about taking advantage of every opportunity that might come our way, but actually getting into a position where you can make the race come to you is something else. Especially when you consider that I was last at one point. In that moment I was feeling pretty unhappy, which was a big contrast to how I felt at the chequered flag.

“It’s been a tough start to the year for all of us and we needed a good result as a reward for that. We also ‘deserved’ that result, because we beat many teams and drivers who should really have been ahead of us. They’re bigger and they have more resources.

“Obviously we need to finish at least 10th in the Championship – that’s a more practical reality – but, emotionally, last Sunday was like a win for our team.”

Wehrlein believes Manor have improved their car significantly since the beginning of the season, especially when it comes to tyre degradation, with the early stages of the year being hampered by excessive tyre wear whereas Austria saw a long stint on one set of tyres that were still good to go at the end of the race.

The Mercedes-protégé does not feel though that the form shown in Austria will show again this weekend at Silverstone, and although another top ten finish would be nice for the German, he remains focused on just doing the best job possible with the tools at his disposal.

“That [getting points] would be very nice but let’s be clear – this is a different racetrack and a different weekend,” said Wehrlein. “At the last Grand Prix we seemed to have improved a few things that were holding us back.

“We didn’t suffer with tyre degradation as much as we have previously and our pace was strong – we were able to race for more than 40 laps on a single set of Soft tyres, which is a measure of just how well we got the car working that weekend.

“That doesn’t automatically translate to the next circuit, or even the one after that, but if you can say you did everything right and got the maximum possible from the car we have, then that’s a good result.”