Pascal Wehrlein was undoubtedly the star of qualifying at the Red Bull Ring, after the Manor Racing driver secured an excellent twelfth place on the grid for Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix.
The German driver achieved the Manor teams first appearance in Q2 of the season, and the first time in dry conditions since back in 2014 when the late Jules Bianchi achieved the same feat at the Hungaroring.
Wehrlein felt a top ten could have been possible had the rain not fallen when it did during Q2, proving that the team are no longer the back-markers they once were, cut off from the rest of the field.
“It’s an incredible feeling for me and the whole team,” said Wehrlein. “I feel very proud of us today; it’s a measure of how hard we have all been working and a nice reward for that effort.
“My lap in Q1 was really good first of all. It was a nearly perfect qualifying. The strategy was excellent; we were always one of the first cars out on track and everything just came together in Q1, despite the fact that there was a red flag and yellow flag interrupting our flow.
“Then in Q2 I set my lap on my first run on the Supersoft tyre. We switched to the Ultrasoft tyre but by then the rain was really coming and there was no way to improve. Easy to say I guess, but were it not for the rain, Q3 might even have been possible today.”
Wehrlein feels the team may struggle on race day in comparison, especially as the team have struggled this year with tyre degradation, but is looking to the weather assisting them to make it possible for a points finish.
“I have to be honest and say that tomorrow is a different story,” said Wehrlein. “We have struggled with tyre degradation in the races and we’re missing a bit of rear downforce at the moment, which is hard on the rear tyres.
“The forecast is for the weather to be a little bit unpredictable, so hopefully that might shake things up and help us. My plan is to drive every lap as fast as possible and see where we get to!”