Following on from a promising but ultimately disappointing Mexican Grand Prix, the Sauber F1 Team say they are confident of breaking into the points paying positions again by the end of the season.
Marcus Ericsson ran well inside the points until the pit stops before making a fiery exit on lap fifty-five with an engine failure, whilst Pascal Wehrlein ran well on an alternative tyre strategy, keeping the recovering duo of Carlos Sainz Jr. and World Champion Lewis Hamilton at bay in the mid part of the race.
Despite not matching the heights of Ericsson on Sunday, Wehrlein was encouraged by the weekend.
“I did the best possible job that I could during the race today.” said the Mercedes junior. “It was challenging to try and catch my direct competition as the majority ahead of me were running on softer compounds.
“Despite that, I am satisfied with the consistency of my performance today. It gives me confidence that better results are possible in the upcoming races.”
Similarly to many other drivers, Ericsson felt aggrieved by the timing of the Virtual Safety Car, inflicted by Brendon’s Hartley‘s retirement in the Scuderia Toro Rosso with an engine failure.
“The start into the race was good.” mused Ericsson. “The first stint was also good and competitive, so I was able to run in the top 10.
“It was looking promising and I felt comfortable in the car. We were unlucky with the Virtual Safety Car phase then, as it came two laps after I had boxed. It was a shame because I lost a couple of positions there.”
Despite the Mexico event marking Ericsson’s forty-sixth race since his last points scoring finish – a run that stretches back to the Italian Grand Prix of 2015 – the 27-year-old focussed on the positives.
“After having an overall positive weekend, I could unfortunately not finish the race as I had to retire the car.”
Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur echoed Ericcson’s thoughts, pleased with the overall race pace shown by the Swede, but frustrated by his retirement.
“We had a decent pace throughout the race.” said the former Renault Sport Formula One Team boss. “Marcus did a good job fighting with our direct competitors in the midfield during the first stint.
“A shame, that he was not able to finish the race due to a technical issue. As for Pascal, he also put in a good performance, even though he was on a different tyre strategy.”