Roberto Merhi: “It was not easy to go racing”

by Paul Hensby

The Hungaroring weekend was always going to be tough for everyone involved in the Manor F1 Team following the sad death of Jules Bianchi last week, with Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens racing on and finishing fifteenth and sixteenth respectively on Sunday.

Merhi believed Bianchi would have wanted the team to race on, and felt he did the best job he could have on track, fighting early on with the Sauber drivers and Romain Grosjean’s Lotus before a headrest issue forced him into a battle with his team-mate.

“Today was very tough and it was not easy to go racing, but it’s what Jules would have done and what he would have wanted us to do,” said Merhi. “The team did a great job as the race was not the easiest.

“I got a good start and was ahead of both Saubers and I was also fighting with Grosjean. Soon after that, my headrest came loose, so we had to pit early to deal with that, which put us off-strategy, but the safety car situation changed the shape of the race.

“It was a good result to finish 15th and 16th, so I think we did the best job possible for Jules today.”

Stevens was disappointed to retire with just a couple of laps remaining after an almost race-long battle with his team-mate, but had done enough to be classified, albeit sixteenth and last, and hopes to come back fighting after the mid-season break.

“It’s been a pretty tough weekend for everyone in the team, but I think we can feel very proud of the job we did today,” insisted Stevens.

“Roberto and I have had a good battle here and this continued into the race. After he pitted early on, we were chopping and changing positions and racing on different tyres at many points in the race.

“It was disappointing to have to stop at the end, but I felt a vibration on the right rear and the safest thing to do from our position was to stop and investigate that, given that we were still classified.

“Now, I hope the team have a good chance to rest over the summer break so we can come back fighting again in Spa and beyond.”

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