Marcus Ericsson feels that he and Sauber F1 Team team-mate Pascal Wehrlein have been very evenly matched throughout the 2017 Formula 1 season.
This is despite Mercedes-Benz-protégé Wehrlein scoring all of the Swiss outfits five points so far, and the German out-qualifying Ericsson seven races to two, and with Wehrlein having missed the opening two races due to injury.
But Ericsson, in his third season with Sauber having joined them ahead of the 2015 season, feels it has been a lot closer than what the results show.
“I think it’s been some small margins, you know?” said Ericsson to Motorsport.com. “Like in Barcelona, it was a couple of thousands, and in Russia I was about to go faster than him when he had his spin, so there were yellow flags.
“So, small margins. I think we have been very even. And if you look at the average between me and Pascal over all the qualifying sessions, it’s been really close.
“I think it’s just small things that I need to improve to get a bit more out of the car.”
Ericsson knows that Wehrlein is a good driver with manufacturer backing, but he believes that their race pace is very similar, and it is only in qualifying over one lap where the German is out-performing him this season.
“He is a very good driver,” Ericsson said. “I mean, I knew that before, that he was a very good driver. And I think he has shown that this year, especially in qualifying.
“So he has been really good in putting a good lap together when it matters in qualifying. That’s where he has generally been a bit stronger than me, whereas in the races I think we have been very, very closely matched.
“We had very close fights in the races. But for me, I think compared to him I can improve a bit on my one-lap pace in qualifying, to be a bit better there.”