Formula 1

Sauber’s gap to rivals ‘not too big’ for Pascal Wehrlein

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Photo: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Pascal Wehrlein says that the Sauber F1 Team were not too far off of their rivals pace in the first two Free Practice sessions for Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.

Wehrlein, who handed his car over to reserve driver Charles Leclerc for the morning session, found himself in eighteenth courtesy of a 1:38.165s – just a tenth shy of debutant Brendon Hartley in the Scuderia Toro Rosso in the afternoon, completing thirty-five laps in the process.

The showing pleased the German, considering his limited running time.

“I am quite satisfied with the practice session considering that I did not drive in the morning.” the Mercedes-Benz backed junior driver said.

“In FP2, my objective was to complete as many laps as possible. The car felt ok in terms of the balance. Regarding the lap times, the gap to our direct competitors was not too big either.”

“Let’s see what tomorrow brings.”

Meanwhile, team-mate Marcus Ericsson had a mixed Friday, finishing FP1 above Leclerc, but a problem curtailed any late progress in the day’s second session. Despite the blip, Ericsson finished the day in nineteenth, only a tenth behind Wehrlein and ahead of the struggling Haas F1 Team car of Romain Grosjean.

Ericsson said he enjoyed his return to the Austin track and detailed the work done over the course of the day.

“It is always great to drive on this circuit; I really enjoy it.” the Swede said.

“In FP1 we worked through our programme focusing on mechanical and aerodynamic tests. In the afternoon, I lost some time towards the end of FP2 due to a car issue.”

“We are now looking into our data and working on making improvements for tomorrow’s qualifying.”

Both Wehrlein and Ericsson face uncertainty over their future at the Swiss team, with Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur admitting that the latter could vacate his seat, despite the team holding Swedish backing.

Photo: Octane Photographic Ltd.

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