Wehrlein satisfied with performance after race return in Bahrain

Pascal Wehrlein finished just outside the points in Bahrain - Credit: Sauber Motorsport AG

Pascal Wehrlein admitted satisfaction after securing an eleventh place finish in his first Grand Prix of the season in Bahrain.

The Sauber F1 Team racer qualified thirteenth on Saturday and was just outside the points on race day after returning to the car after withdrawing from both the Australian and Chinese Grand Prix due to fitness concerns following his accident in the Race of Champions in January.

The German gambled on a one-stop strategy at the Bahrain International Circuit, but felt eleventh was the best he could have hoped for.

“I am very satisfied with how the weekend went – being in P13 in qualifying and now finishing the race in P11,” said Wehrlein. “It was a tough race, as we decided to only make one pit stop.

“The result is the maximum that we could have achieved today. It is obviously a pity that we have missed this point by only one position.

“Nevertheless, I am already looking forward to the next Grand Prix.”

Wehrlein admitted that the extra training that he put in to recover sufficiently from his injury paid dividends in Bahrain, and he says it’s like he has not been away despite it being his first Grand Prix since the season ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix whilst with the now defunct Manor Racing MRT squad.

“I’m surprised how good it is,” said Wehrlein to Autosport of his fitness levels. “But that’s what we could have expected because the strength went away but it’s coming back quite quickly.

“You can see what a big change these two weeks of training have been to me and I’m just really happy overall. This race was great in terms of performance and I’m really happy to come back like this, it’s like I’ve never been away.

“Fitness wise, I’m feeling good. Now I feel it, of course after a long race I have some pain in my back. I’m quite tired as well, but I guess everyone is after the heat.”