The Sauber F1 Team insist it was not Pascal Wehrlein’s fault that he took a five-second time penalty for a pit lane entry offence during the Spanish Grand Prix, feeling their call to bring the German in late was the cause.
Wehrlein secured his first points of the season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, finishing seventh on the road after making a one-stop strategy work superbly, but the time penalty dropped him to eighth in the final classification.
Sauber decided to call Wehrlein into the pits when the virtual safety car was deployed following Stoffel Vandoorne’s collision with Felipe Massa at turn one, but the German came into the pit lane on the wrong side of the bollard at pit entry, meaning he took the time penalty.
“It’s a shame that Pascal got a penalty but we were thinking about pitting at that time,” said head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar to Motorsport.com.
“There was confusion between the virtual safety car and us pitting. When the virtual safety car came in, we were just at the entry of the chicane so it was too late – that’s why he missed it [the bollard].”
Team boss Monisha Kaltenborn was happy that the team were able to score points for the first time in 2017 despite losing two potentially valuable points thanks to the penalty.
“It was an excellent drive,” added Kaltenborn. “It’s sad that the call was made so late to get him in that he got that penalty but it doesn’t matter.
“He had a split second, the call just came a bit too late but he could still react. But we shouldn’t be crying about what could have been – we’re happy with what there is.”