Pascal Wehrlein had possibly the best start to an F1 race of his young career at the 2016 Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday, as the German rocketed up the order to fourth place from seventeenth on the grid, albeit due to a number of incidents happening ahead of the rookie, and a brief safety car period.
The Manor Racing driver was pleased to be able to battle with other cars out there on merit, but knows the team need to push forward now.
“It was a good race, with some positives to take away,” said Wehrlein. “Once again we were fighting with some other cars and managed to overtake a few as well.
“The start went well and then the first few corners were a bit hairy with cars and debris all over the place. We did well to avoid the chaos and made up 17 places from the start to be 4th for a few laps. That was a nice feeling, although I knew it would be short-lived.
“The car was working fine but I think 18th place is where the car is right now at this event. At the end we saw the chance to gain on Magnussen, which is why we went for the Supersofts. It was a good feeling to be hunting him down but we only had a limited window on those tyres and it wasn’t quite enough in the end.
“Everyone finished, so with no DNFs we got ahead of four other cars on merit, but we have to make a good step forward now to make a big difference in the races ahead.”
Team-mate Rio Haryanto was pleased he was able to finish ahead of the Renault Sport F1 car of Jolyon Palmer at the Shanghai International Circuit, and the Indonesian is confident that the team know what they must do to push on from here.
“In the early part of the race we were in the mix with Sauber, as we have been at various parts of the weekend, and also with Haas, but towards the end we were just lacking pace a little bit,” said Haryanto.
“I managed to hold off Palmer until the end which was good, so while I’m happy that we managed to get both cars to the chequered flag again, I was hoping for more of a fight today.
“The signs are good though and I think we know what we need to do to improve and make that possible. My thanks to my crew and the team and let’s keep pushing for Russia.”