For the second consecutive weekend and for the third time in 2016, Pascal Wehrlein made it through to the second segment of qualifying, although he couldn’t fulfil his aim of a first ever Q3 appearance for the Manor Racing team at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
The German had struggled during final practice on Saturday morning but was glad it all came together in qualifying, and will start thirteenth on the grid on Sunday once Romain Grosjean takes his grid penalty for a gearbox change.
“Really happy with qualifying, especially when you take into account how things were for us this morning,” said Wehrlein. “We were struggling, I couldn’t get a clear lap; it was frustrating as it wasn’t quite coming together then.
“But it did in qualifying, when it mattered, and definitely the pace was right there, perhaps more than we expected.”
Wehrlein admitted he was happy to have out-qualified Jenson Button’s McLaren-Honda as well as both Toro Rosso, Sauber and Renault drivers on Saturday, but hopes his race lasts longer this weekend than it did at Spa-Francorchamps last weekend when he crashed out on the opening lap.
“I’m very pleased that we’ve qualified ahead of those guys,” insisted Wehrlein. “It shows just how much we’ve achieved and although I got the most from the package today, there’s still more to find in the car that I hope we can tap into in the race.
“It will be difficult tomorrow; everyone has a Monza package for Monza! But we’ve put ourselves in the mix and from here we can have a very good race, maybe making the most of some opportunities.
“As for the start, Spa was disappointing – it was racing – but we start again tomorrow. The first two corners are very tight, so we have to watch out, but I’m excited and confident and I want to do a really great job.”