The 2016 Austrian Grand Prix turned out to be the best weekend of the season so far for the Manor Racing Team, when Mercedes AMG PETRONAS academy driver Pascal Wehrlein secured the Banbury based squad’s first point of the season, with a brilliant tenth place finish.
Having started the weekend well with a thirteenth place in final practice, the German went from strength to strength across the weekend, making it through to Q2 in qualifying for the first time this season and securing twelfth place on the super-soft tyre. Just six tenths off the pace of Williams Martini Racing driver Felipe Massa in tenth, had the Manor driver bolted on the ultra-soft tyre, maybe even Q3 could have been a slim possibility this weekend!
In the race, Wehrlein made sure he was ready to capitalise on any opportunities that came his way, and was easily able to hold his own amongst the midfield pack. At the end of the grand prix, the German was well placed to take a deserved tenth position, and Manor’s second ever points scoring finish, as the chequered flag fell.
Manor Racing Director Dave Ryan, was over the moon with the performance, and praised the efforts of highly rated youngster Wehrlein. He also commended Rio Haryanto’s race, with the Indonesian driver left to cover off his team-mates strategy, by taking an alternative, less aggressive route.
“After yesterday’s Q2 performance in qualifying, today’s point-scoring finish is a fantastic way to end a really positive weekend. The most important thing about it is that it shows that we’re a serious team and we’re working extremely hard to improve.
“Pascal has been looking comfortable the whole time we’ve been here in Austria and even though there was a point in the race where things were not looking so great for him, we felt sure he would turn it around. That’s exactly what he did and he put himself in exactly the right position to take advantage if things came his way.
“Rio was on a different strategy; we split the strategies so that we would be in a good position to respond to any opportunity. Nonetheless, he drove a really determined race and can be pleased with his 16th place today.
Ryan believes the good experience in Austria will now boost the team’s confidence ahead of their home race at Silverstone, but is aware that they must not get above themselves just yet, and will ensure the whole squad continue to keep up the solid effort they have put in so far.
“Naturally, heading into our home Grand Prix next week, this will give everyone a huge lift. We need to keep our feet on the ground, but after an enormous amount of hard work in the first half of the season, everyone thoroughly deserves to enjoy the moment before the hard work starts again tomorrow.”