Pascal Wehrlein: “I hope we can show more of our improvement here”

Pascal Wehrlein - Credit: Manor Racing

Pascal Wehrlein is enjoying his rookie season in Formula 1 as the championship arrives at the Baku Street Circuit in Azerbaijan for the eighth round of the season this weekend.

The Manor Racing driver and Mercedes protégé admits he is still learning about the intricacies of Formula 1, especially as he is learning almost every circuit on the calendar for the first time.

“I’m really enjoying my first season and the races are just flying by now,” said Wehrlein. “It’s had its ups and downs but I’ve learned a lot about how to handle that. Plus, we’re learning together as a team.

“Generally, I’m pretty happy with my performances so far, but with every circuit being new for me, I’ll be learning all the way through the season.”

Wehrlein believes it is important Manor take every opportunity that comes their way after believing they missed one of those chances last weekend in Canada, especially in their battle with fellow struggles Sauber, who the German is targeting to beat at Baku.

“The great thing about Baku is that it’s new for everyone – all the teams and all the drivers – so it’s a case of mastering the circuit better than your competition,” said Wehrlein.

“It’s a high-speed circuit so, much like Canada, will be well-suited to our package. There were some positive signs in Montréal but we missed some opportunities there, so I hope we can show more of our improvement here versus Sauber in particular.”

Team-mate Rio Haryanto believes the Baku circuit will as unforgiving as the Monaco circuit should a driver make a mistake, although he thinks the backdrop of the Azerbaijan capital is a spectacular one for a Formula 1 Grand Prix.

“It’s awesome. I don’t really know what I was expecting but it has exceeded all my expectations,” revealed Haryanto. “The diversity of the city is really striking; the mix of old and new makes it a pretty spectacular setting for a Grand Prix. I really like it here and I’m sure the fans will too.”

“I think it’s going to be incredible to drive. It’s certainly one of the faster tracks on the calendar and in particular Turn 15 looks really exciting. The walls are so close yet the track is really narrow and fast there. It’s a bit like Monaco in that one little mistake could be punished quite severely.”