Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Wehrlein proud of points finish after ‘perfect’ strategy

2017 Spanish Grand Prix

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Pascal Wehrlein says he ‘could not be more happy’ after he secured Sauber’s first points of the season with eighth place in the Spanish Grand Prix.

A strong race from Wehrlein saw the team take advantage of the Virtual Safety Car and hold off heavy pressure from Toro Rosso in the form of Carlos Sainz and Daniil Kvyat.

“I am delighted,” says Wehrlein. “Really great race. I couldn’t be more happy with this race, really.

“The strategy worked out perfectly. At the end, Sainz put a lot of pressure on me and he tried to pass many times, but it was so important to keep him behind and to make a gap to the other guys behind him because I had a five-second penalty.”

The stewards handed Wehrlein a five-second post-race time penalty that dropped the Sauber from seventh to eighth behind Sainz after he failed to stay to the right of the pit entry bollard during his final pit stop.

“In the end, I just tried to make a bigger gap,” says Wehrlein.

“Every lap was like qualifying. In the first part of the race, the most important thing is to manage your tyres but still be quick. Overall a great race, a great job from the team. I’m really happy.”

2017 Spanish Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 11 comments on “Wehrlein proud of points finish after ‘perfect’ strategy”

    1. Nice to see Sauber do well, they had a competetive race pace with both cars today. A bit lucky with the 1 stop strategy to get the VSC but they deserve a bit of luck and great drive by Wherlein! P8 and P11 for the team is great. With a bit of luck both cars could have been in the points but Ericsson pitted just before the VSC and lost time against the other cars. Looking forward to Monaco and see what they can do there.

      1. A bit lucky with the 1 stop strategy to get the VSC

        I’ve seen this statement before, but how exactly did the VSC benefit him? He was probably going to pit anyway around that time. He just pitted like everyone else around him, so without the VSC the result would have been the same I think. He even lost a place to Hülkenberg (and he got a penalty too). Wehrlein did a very good job to keep that train of faster cars behind and therefore he made the very conservative strategy work.

        1. @f1infigures Erm…
          He had a group of chasing cars behind him on soft that was a lot quicker than he was. Without the VSC they probably would have undercut Pascal when he was forced to change tyres. More or less all cars was forced to change tyres during the vsc, otherwise they would have lost to much time.
          Always winners and losers with sc and vsc… Pascal was a winner this time. :)
          Ericsson lost a lot of time during the vsc as he just had switched tyres. He was 1 second after Kvyat before he pitted, then the VSC was deployed and then 18 second behind Kvyat and Stroll managed to pass during his pitstop as well.

          As his soft tyres was very old he could have changed them 1 or 2 laps before the VSC…and then he would have lost around 20 sec.

        2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          15th May 2017, 11:35

          The commentators on Sky and Channel 4 said that it helped Wherlein a lot to have the VSC exactly when it was. His team mate Ericsson had 2 stops. And one of them was just before the VSC. So he had no time gained and 2 long pit stops. Where as Wherlien was helped a little by his 1 stop strategy and that he could save his tyres life because of the other occations where they all had to slow down. Such as when Bottas retired. There is no doubt the VSC helped him a fair bit. But it is true that is could have helped other drivers too. But it didn’t help Ericsson and made him look worse than he was.

          1. @thegianthogweed True, Ericsson and Alonso lost out due to the VSC, but others didn’t really. Without VSC Wehrlein was probably going to make his first stop before the train behind him would make their second stop, so he likely would have stayed ahead of them anyway.

    2. Great results from Pascal and Sauber which has made huge gains. There are however alot of luck involved and alot of cars behind that shoudlnt be behind. I very much doubt this is the true pace of Sauber but it would be great if they could be anything but dead last in this rebulding season they have.

      Ericsson should also be mentioned because he had an equally good drive but was handed the other side of the coinflip as Sauber loves to split their cars with opposite strategys for maximum risk and maximum reward.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        15th May 2017, 11:17

        I have to agree here. I have to say that Wherlein did have a great weekend. But so few noticed that Ericsson has been pretty much level with him as he was just 5 thousandths of a second off in qualifying and their race pace was very similar too. Just that Ericsson got put on a 2 stop strategy and unfortunately pitted at an incontinent time. Anyhow, good race weekend by them both.

    3. It’s important for Wehrlein to have good results like this looking to move up to Mercedes. Congrats to him and Sauber.

    4. Great race for Pascal and Sauber. They maximised their opportunities today and took a massive step forward in their fight against McLaren.

      When Alonso claimed that they were the slowest in race pace, I thought he was only ruffling Honda’s feathers, but today it was true… McLaren are dead last on race pace.

    5. i really hope to see Pascal in the Renault or Force India next year. I don’t think he’s Mercedes matterial (yet, anyway) in the unlikely case Bottas will not be resigned next year, but since Renault needs a great young driver to replace Palmer he might be a good fit. Also, FI will soon have to let Perez go (to Ferrari maybe) and bring the WEH – OCO duo together again.

    6. Tony Mansell
      15th May 2017, 16:13

      He’s a class…driver….All this talk of ‘luck’ is nonsense, he’s consistently proved he can drive and although there are huge question marks over his diva behaviour, that’s just stuff that gets the keyboard warriors riled. Teams have been dealing with diva’s since men have driven cars. Maldanado was a lovely lad by all accounts…enough said. If PW ‘gets lucky’ timing wise he may even get the Merc drive one day.

    Comments are closed.