Pascal Wehrlein admitted he made life extremely difficult for himself after spinning into the gravel trap during final practice on Saturday morning, but despite very limited running at the Circuit of the Americas, he qualified twentieth on the grid for the United States Grand Prix.
The Manor Racing MRT driver had already sat out first practice on Friday morning to allow test driver Jordan King a first outing, but the spin in FP3 meant he went into the qualifying session on the back foot, but was still able to out-qualify Sauber F1 Team racer Felipe Nasr and team-mate Esteban Ocon.
Wehrlein felt he did everything he could under the circumstances, with his time of 1:38.548 less than half a second shy of making it through to Q2.
“I made life very difficult for myself this morning, spinning and ending up in the gravel and missing more than half of the session,” said Wehrlein. “It was a real bonus to get the car back six minutes from the end of FP3 and the team did a fantastic job to get me out in time to do an out-lap, a timed lap, and an in-lap before the end of the session.
“I had only taken part in FP2 until that point, having missed the first session, so every lap was critical. My thanks to everyone in my crew for pushing for that as I think it really helped me.
“I threw everything I had at it. It’s another new track for me and it’s one where you really need to get used to the corners and the circuit features and find a good rhythm before qualifying. I wasn’t expecting to find that rhythm again in time; I was feeling pretty unhappy after FP3 and when I was stuck in the gravel, I just couldn’t believe it. It took me a while to come to terms with it, to be honest.
“So there was quite a lot of pressure and that’s why I’m really happy with my lap. I can’t wait to race now.”