SPAN­ISH GP

Autosport (UK) - - PIT + PADDOCK/LETTERS -

THI SW A ST HEA RCHETYPAL HEROIC DRIVE ina poor car. Wehrlein un­ex­pect­edly made Q2 in F1 ’ssl ow­est steed, pick­ing off Jolyon Palmer’s Re­nault, Lance Stroll’s Wil­liams and Daniil Kvyat’s Toro Rosso, which all should have been ahead o fb oth Wehrlein and his Sauber team-mate Mar­cus Eric­s­son, who him­self qual­i­fied only 0.005 sec­onds be­hind Wehrlein.

The Mercedes ju­nior’s per­for­mance in this race was eye-catch­ing. He was no mere road­block, de­spite be­ing re­quired to ex­e­cute a tricky one-stop strat­egy to gain track po­si­tion.

O fc ourse, he gained from that strat­egy, as oth­ers made an ex­tra stop, and he also ben­e­fited from the first-lap col­li­sion that took out Kimi Raikko­nen and

Max Ver­stap­pen. But Wehrlein held off

Carlos Sainz Jr’s Toro Rosso to the fin­ish, com­ing home sev­enth o nther oad befo rea five-sec­ond penalty was ap­plied for en­ter­ing the pits the wrong side of the en­try bol­lard, for which the team took re­spon­si­bil­ity.

“We had good pace,” says Wehrlein. “I think in Barcelo nay ou need to bem ore than one sec­ond faster to be able t oo ver­take some­one. Sainz was be­hind me fo r2 0 laps and try­ing t oo ver­take, but he couldn’t be­cause he couldn’t get close enough.”

Without that pit-en­try mis­take, Sauber’s best re­sult of the seaso nw ould have been even bet­ter, but Wehrlein still ex­e­cuted a per­fect week­end in a very dif­fi­cult car.

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