Second Driver of the Weekend win for Wehrlein

2017 Spanish Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend result

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Pascal Wehrlein’s second career points finish also earned him his second Driver of the Weekend win.

F1 Fanatic readers voted him the top driver of last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix by a narrow margin over race winner Lewis Hamilton.

Wehrlein previously won Driver of the Weekend for his breakthrough points finish for Manor in last year’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Pascal Wehrlein’s Grand Prix weekend

Wehrlein got his car into Q2 and lined up 15th on the grid. His start wasn’t especially spectacular – he only made up three places, most of which came because of collisions ahead of him. The strategy was what made his race.

Running a long first stint on soft tyres allowed Wehrlein to make up several places and avoid the usual Catalunya disadvantage of being stuck in traffic. It allowed him to reach the end with just a single further stop.

However he slipped up during that sole pit stop, cutting across the pit lane entry and earning a five-second penalty. That ultimately cost him seventh place to Carlos Sainz Jnr. Nonetheless this was a highly impressive drive.

Some very impressive driving, and also some not-so-impressive driving throughout the field, but only one driver punched massively above his weight. Pascal Wehrlein did an Alonso by putting his Sauber somewhere it didn’t belong, not cracking under the enormous pressure applied by Sainz while almost keeping up with the pace of Hulkenberg in front of him.

His penalty for taking an illegal line into the pits is but a minor flaw that pales when compared to that monstrous first stint of his. 33 laps on soft tyres, while maintaining a pace that was still faster than his team mate’s on 18 laps fresher tyres of the same compound, allowed him to skip a round of pit stops and score some vital points for his ailing team. Simply impressive.

Excellently composed drive. He seems to have matured a lot since USA last year. Managing to fight off Sainz, as well as pull away from the gaggle of cars along with Sainz meaning he only lost one position with the penalty, especially considering those cars behind him (the Haas and Toro Rosso) are all much quicker cars.

Got into Q2 on Saturday (although just .005s ahead of Ericsson in Q1, but still), and then made the one-stop work to perfection to get into seventh. And to those saying the VSC helped him – all the cars behind him also pitted under VSC, so they came out exactly where they went in (except Hulkenberg who did leapfrog Wehrlein in the pits).
Hugh (@Hugh11)

More than just the solid drive he put in for his comeback. Russia was little less than rubbish from him but this weekend. What a drive. Yes the front row had us knowing with tention at the nearest thing we could get our chops round. But Wehrlein just showed his brilliance. Who knows what he could have done for Manor had they been here and had their car been as competitive as it looked. Potential to be a one with his name in the record books.

Spanish Grand Prix winners and losers

Hamilton won his latest duel with Vettel
Lewis Hamilton earned praise for his second win of the year which he scored despite losing his advantage from pole position at the start.

A well-timed pit stop during a Virtual Safety Car period aided Hamilton’s effort to wrest the lead back from Sebastian Vettel.

Gave it to Hamilton. Fastest in all but one session. Fastest lap. Keep calm during the race, was relaxed and smiley during interviews.

My take is that the Mercedes was very, very marginally the fastest car, but Hamilton needed to give it all to bag the win.

Hamilton and Vettel were superb today. Hamilton sounded absolutely wasted on the radio, and he was resting his head already with 20 laps to go. It looked like a serious physical challenge between the two, a flat out battle. Fantastic.

If I were to nitpick, Vettel wasn’t “perfect” during the weekend, he made a mistake in qualifying. So my vote goes to Hamilton.

I voted for Vettel because I firmly believe that he should and would have won this race but for his team’s strategic error. He did everything right himself – managed to claim a front row grid position after engine problems earlier in the weekend and get the jump on Hamilton at the start and maintaining the gap ahead. The combination of Mercedes’ strategy, team tactics (with Bottas) and the VSC timing won the race for them.

Pascal Wehrlein’s Driver of the Weekend wins from 2011 to date

Driver of the weekend: The Twitter verdict

There was plenty more praise for Wehrlein and Hamilton on Twitter, but Lance Stroll and Jolyon Palmer’s efforts were less well reviewed.

2017 Spanish Grand Prix

Browse all 2017 Spanish Grand Prix articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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32 comments on “Second Driver of the Weekend win for Wehrlein”

  1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    21st May 2017, 16:31

    Some people may be tired of me rating Ericsson so highly, but I really am baffled why Wherlien go so much praise this weekend and Ericsson barely got any. I have seen about 3 other people agree that both have had a pretty strong weekend. Wherlein was better, but not by that much TBH. A 0.005 second gap in qualifying between the 2 and if Ericsson was on the same strategy in the race, they will have been far closer to one another. And also, I really do feel that Wherlien probably won’t have been driver of the weekend if he had been 12th. Which he would have been if there wasn’t 3 retirements as well as Massa having all the bad luck he did. Retirements of the top cars and his strategy brought him the points. I would certainly have him him as a driver of the day if it wasn’t for the pit stop issue because even 12th would have been really impressive for a Sauber. The mistake he made must have been a pretty big mistake as it got him a 5 second penalty and 2 penalty points. I feel if a driver such as Hamilton did this, nobody would even consider him as driver of the weekend no matter how good his race was.

    The rest of Wherlein’s race was simply brilliant though, so yes, I can understand why he has a lot of votes. But I’m just a bit surprised that he has won driver of the weekend and Ericsson got 0% of the votes when he really wasn’t that far off Wherlein’s pace. In qualifying, Ericsson was 2 tenths faster than him until he made a mistake and cost himself that tiny margin to his team mate. This pretty much shows that Wherlein’s qualifying was nowhere close to what the car was capable of. Both drivers had great scraps and overtakes with other drivers during the race. Both of their races looked very strong to me. But Ericsson at leased made no stupid mistake.

    1. I partly agree with you about ranking of Ericcson but about that mistake – it was not his mistake, it was Pitwall mistake/late call. Pitwall just called him too late and he needed to pass that bollard. If he did not do this, he would not be at 8th place at all…

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        21st May 2017, 17:51

        I also partly see what you mean. But Wherlein should have realized that it was too late to pull in if this was the case. Why didn’t he just do an extra lap if he knew this? If he didn’t know it would give him a penalty, it is still a mistake.

        1. But if he would make that extra lap, he would not have the advantage of pitting under VSC and the 8th place would not be possible…! 5s mistake is still better than no points at all.

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            21st May 2017, 19:30


            Yes, I guess you have got a good point there. But that then does pretty much mean that he is at fault for the penalty if he chooses to come in. But yes it will have been worth it.

    2. WEHRLEIN!!!!!!!!
      21st May 2017, 17:30


    3. @thegianthogweed

      if Ericsson was on the same strategy in the race, they will have been far closer to one another.

      I don’t think so. As I analysed at length in a different discussion, Ericsson wasn’t really disadvantaged by the strategy, he simply couldn’t make it work. If he had managed to lap significantly faster than Wehrlein, but not enough so to make up the time needed for an additional pit stop, it would’ve been possible (but still not necessarily correct) to argue that Sauber made a wrong call. But despite the temporary advantage of not needing to preserve his tyres nearly as much as his team mate, as well as receiving a fresh set while Wehrlein continued on used tyres, his pace stagnated on the same level as Wehrlein’s, even dropping off at the end of each stint on the Softs. Hence, seeing as he failed to extract more pace from these tyres despite wearing them out at a much quicker rate, I don’t see how he could’ve possibly made a one-stopper work. All the evidence from his race seems to rule that possibility out.

      I feel if a driver such as Hamilton did this, nobody would even consider him as driver of the weekend no matter how good his race was.

      A quick counter-example:
      Vettel was DotW’ed after the 2015 Canadian GP weekend despite incurring penalty for needlessly overtaking a Manor (or Marussia or whatever their name used to be back then) under red flag conditions at well over 300 kph. Vettel is not Hamilton, but I think this example proves that your assumption likely isn’t correct. Especially considering what @andycz said, i.e. that it was a team mistake, and that Wehrlein had to make a difficult decision after being called to the pits a tad too late.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        21st May 2017, 18:59

        Yes, fair enough about your 2nd point. Even with mistakes, sometimes you can still get driver of the weekend then. But the fact is, Ericsson would have been well into Q2 if he hadn’t made a mistake. Even with his mistake, he was only a tiny fraction behind Wherlien. Which shows that Wherlein could have done better and was incredibly lucky to have got through to Q2. If Stroll had been where a Williams should be, that would be it and Wherlein wouldn’t have made it into Q2. Anyway, I’m saying Ericsson would have been closer to Wherlein if he’d have been on the same strategy. Ericsson proved in Mexico that he can be very good at looking after tyres for a long time. Nearly 70 laps infact. And he managed to finish 11th there when there had only been one retirement which was a slower car. That to me still was more impressive than Wherlein’s race weekend last week. And I feel that it was mainly because he wasn’t in the points that he wasn’t driver of the weekend. If there had been 4 very competitive cars that had, he’d have been 7th. I then reckon that would have made many more people vote for him.

        I feel Ericsson’s race was compromised quite a lot by Stroll. I don’t Stroll him for anything he was doing but I think it will have been that Ericsson was behind him pretty closely for simply ages. Early on and later too. Where as most of the time, Wherlien was in the open. He was defending quite a bit of the time but because of how far the other drivers had pulled ahead of him, I don’t think his tyres will have been getting affected. Ericsson kept getting really close to Stroll in the corners and then the Mercedes engine helped Stroll pull right away on the straights only to be holding Ericsson back in the corners again. I do think Ericsson’s tyres will have suffered a bit by this and I also think this partly explains his pace difference. Once he had got past Stroll, he was a much quicker and pulled away somewhat. Yes – from a Willaims in a Sauber with a 2015 Ferrari engine? He did after all finish only one place out of the points only 3 places behind his team mate. He was also ahead of several much better cars. Whelien did some brilliant defending and Ericsson did quite a few good overtakes with Alonso, Stroll and some others.
        I am still pretty convinced that Ericsson’s pace wasn’t much worse than Wherlein’s over the entire weekend.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          21st May 2017, 19:27

          I don’t know what happened on the first line of the 2nd paragraph. I meant to say “I don’t blame Stroll for anything he was doing”

          Must have got my words mixed up.

    4. The fact that you always pick on details of Wehrlein’s races in order to make Ericsson’s more relevant says more about the quality of the first than the latter.

      I particularly like your last sentence “at least made no stupid mistake”. Another thing he still hasn’t done is points

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        21st May 2017, 19:16

        I agree that he hasn’t had points this year, but he has had points quite a few times before. He actually had several P10 finishes in 2015. If I am correct, I think he may have had more points finishes than Nasr, but just in the end, not adding up to as much. Ericsson wasn’t very good in 2015 and I think he’s come a long way since then. And people need to remember that Wherlein has only ever managed points when there had been loads of retirements.

        Although it was a strong weekend, he was incredibly lucky in Austria last year when Perez was 20+ seconds ahead of him on the very last lap in P10 then his brakes failed. Before this, Vettel and several other drivers had also retired. Then pretty much the same story last weekend, other than that most of the retirements were early on in the race.

        It is obviously very good that Wherlien manages to scrore points on these occations. It is certainly an achievement. And yes, points matter and he has scored 5 points over this and the last season compared to 0 from Ericsson. But it is true that there have been plenty of times that Ericsson has very nearly been in the points and he just hasn’t had the luck of more drivers retiring which would bring him up a few places.

        I know I will sound like I’m criticizing Wherlein and possibly defending Ericsson a little too much, but I’m just pointing out that Wherlein only scored when there were lots of retirements. I noticed that he’s had many other good races too. But when he’s just outside of the points, he doesn’t get mentioned anywhere near as much, which is pretty much my point about Ericsson. He’s just unfortunate to have not had any of his good drives stand out more because of retirements further back. Drivers that are not in the points seemed to get broadcast on TV much less which is a shame really as they often is much more overtaking further back.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          21st May 2017, 19:20

          And yes, sorry to everyone that I constantly type Wherlien not Wherlein! This seems to be one of the names in F1 that I just never seem to type consistently! :D

          1. Yeah I do that all the time too!

          2. @thegianthogweed

            Both spellings are wrong. It’s ‘Wehrlein’.

            The retirements argument is getting tiring as Ericsson wouldn’t have even scored a point in F1 without them. I remember Monza 2015 where practically took out three cars on lap one to score points.

          3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            21st May 2017, 20:05


            My apologies, my spelling of Wehrlein has clearly been really bad the whole time then. I hopefully will learn sometime.

            Yes, I do understand what you mean. I do bring this up too often perhaps. I agree that Ericsson almost certainly won’t have had points without retirements. But over 2016 and this year, Ericsson and Wehrlein have had basically equal machinery and I haven’t really noticed Werhlein clearly be a lot better other than when it is wet. But isn’t it also only because of retirements that Wehrlein has got these points? Yes.
            I know you think Ericsson was lucky in Mexico, but if I am correct, out of these 2 drivers in the past 2 seasons, that was the closest to the points they got without retirements helping out. I don’t think Wehrlein has had a finish that high without much faster cars behind him retiring.

            I fully understand that the point of F1 is to score points. Wehrlein has clearly done better than Ericsson in that he’s got 5 points in the time he’s been in F1. And in that time Ericsson hasn’t got any. But getting points isn’t always what I think about when judging a driver for their weekend performance. No matter weather people agree or disagree with me, I think they have been roughly equal overall this season as well as last year.

            Right, this is my “Wehrlein” test, I think I have spelled them all correctly! :D
            But I did have to check through them and correct a few so I’d better have them all correct this time….

        2. Life of a backmarker they have to wait for the opportunities. Even so Pascal (this one I know how to write) didn’t finish P10, he managed to stay ahead of faster cars. Between him and his team-mate at the finish line we had the two strs and if it weren’t for Magnussen’s late puncture the two haas as well. But most importantly he finished ahead of Ericsson.

          Btw there weren’t plenty of time that Ericsson did good races, maybe a couple possibly a few.

          The comparison with Banco do Brasil does not give us much, he wasn’t very good either

    5. @thegianthogweed
      Ericsson had a really bad race even though his and the cars performance was solid. With no points to show for and beaten by the teammate in both race and qualifying he really aint deserving of DOTW.

      Yes Wehrleins points comes from luck rather than a stellar drive and he was “just” slightly ahead in qualifying but even so thats more than Ericsson. You have to do something really spectacular if you want DOTW being beaten in every possible way with no points and Wehrlein aint the only driver i would consider for DOTW before Ericsson.

      Regarding the spelling its no big deal if you cant spell foreign names, you aint exactly alone in that on internet and i see just as many misspellings of Ericsson as an example.

      1. @rethla

        i see just as many misspellings of Ericsson as an example

        Yeah, but the way “Ericsson” is spelled doesn’t even make sense in Swedish, amirite? ;-)

        1. Ericsson is the most common way of spelling that name in Sweden. Although check out Formula 3. The championship leader there is Joel Eriksson. If he ends up in F1 too, THAT will be confusing. Two different spellings of the same name.

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            22nd May 2017, 7:57

            Well, last year, there were 2 Brazilian drivers both named Felipe and also having similar sounding last names too. Nasr and Massa. Will there be 2 names that are this close again as well as them both being the same nationality. It will probably be a while.

          2. @chrischrill

            Ericsson is the most common way of spelling that name in Sweden.

            According to the Swedish Wikipedia entry, it isn’t. And by quite a margin, too, as the Erikssons outnumber the Ericssons 25:1.

            I hadn’t looked up that fact beforehand, but it makes a lot of sense if you ask me, as the letter ‘c’ is pretty much limited to loanwords in Swedish, where it usually represents an ‘s’ sound (okay, and as a fancy spelling alternative for the ‘k’ sound in some family names).
            This is probably nothing new for you, as you seem to be from Sweden if I’m not mistaken, but that’s how I came to the conclusion that the ‘c’ spelling is unexpected in a Swedish name.

            But seein as you seem to like confusion, you’ll love the news that a man named Eriksson was appointed as the CEO of a company named Ericsson

    6. Wherlein was better, but not by that much TBH

      We only vote for the best (1 vote).
      Maybe everybody who voted for Wehrlein (even the annoying person above) had Ericsson as a close 2nd ;)

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        23rd May 2017, 8:52

        Yes, I am aware that some could think this and I did see several say Erisccon wasn’t much worse over the whole weekend too which is what I think. What I don’t understand though is when people say he had a really bad weekend. Qualifying just 5 thousandths of a second behind his team mate and finishing 11th in a Sauber with a strategy that didn’t work out as well wasn’t a bad weekend in comparison was it?

        1. cannot disagree, @thegianthogweed.
          IMO the whole DOTW focusses too much on the final Sunday classification, rather than the true performance of each single racing driver over the whole weekend (I make that only Q & R).

  2. Wehrlein P8 Ericsson P11
    21st May 2017, 17:35

    I don’t think the pit entry was Wehrlein’s fault. He drove a great race to make the strategy work. Ericsson was alright, nothing special but did a solid job too,

  3. @Fer-no65 Rather odd you don’t vote for Vettel cause of qualifying whilst without a doubt Hamilton made more mistakes on his hotlap yet his car was good enough to cope with it (Check his on-board). Vettel his lap was near perfect bar the last chicane making it so close.

    1. Neil (@neilosjames)
      21st May 2017, 22:55

      I noticed the same, when people were making a big deal of Vettel’s apparently decisive mistake. Hamilton made two ‘obvious’ ones, wide at both Turns 5 and 15. The one at 5 probably cost the most time.

      I think most qualifying laps have a ‘mistake’ or two, but drivers/TV only mention them when (as was the case with Vettel) the error is an easily identifiable reason why they didn’t get pole/reach Q3/etc. That other drivers made mistakes too doesn’t usually matter.

    2. @xtwl true that! hence why I said if I had to nitpick… he failed to get pole, even tho he was going much faster than Hamilton at that point. Lewis left the goal open for Seb, but Seb didn’t get it. It was just that close between the two… Hamilton got the pole and the win.

      I know, results ain’t everything, but given the circumstances, I voted for him.

  4. He did well but the Haas and Toro Rosso are not much faster than the Sauber. Qualifying pace would indicate that the fastest Haas and Toro Rosso are 0.4-0.5s faster which isn’t usually enough to overtake with even tyre wear. There was about 0.8s covering 7th to 20th in qualifying (and 20th was actually a Toro Rosso). Track position was key in that race and Sauber’s strategy for Wehrlein delivered that.

  5. I think Wehrlein would have given Hamilton as much or maybe even more to think about than Bottas does. He is a difficult character, but a great and consistent driver.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      23rd May 2017, 9:14

      I think it is far too early for Wehrlein to be at Mercedes. I certainly don’t think he will be close to Bottas. At leased not yet. We can hardly say he is consistent either if we base it on this season too. He made a very costly mistake in ROC which cost him the first 2 races at the start of the season. He did indeed have a really strong first race though. But if you watched his 2nd race, he spun in qualifying and finished last, 29 seconds behind Ericsson (who many think is one of the worst on the grid). If you think Wehrlein could be more of a challenge for Hamilton than Bottas, then Ericsson must sometimes be driving at a much higher level than many think.

      At this moment in time, I think both are just average but decent drivers and Wehrlien is just that bit better (much better in the wet though). But as I have seen, most people do rate Wehrlein quite a bit higher. But to me, the results this year don’t really show that yet. But I do agree with the others that Wehrlien has a much bigger chance to improve than his team mate as Ericsson has already been in F1 since 2014. Ericsson has improved a lot since then but he quite possibly won’t get much better than he is now. I think Wehrlein will need to show more than he is doing this year before he moves to a much better team. There will be reasons why Mercedes went for Bottas over him even though Wehrlein was sort of more available than Bottas was as he was in a way already linked with the team in a way. Williams really wanted to keep hold of Bottas and Sauber had only just got Wehrlein. It probably will have been easier for Mercedes to get hold of him. But they will have had reasons not to.

      1. Please don’t forget that Wehrlein has won the DTM at an extremely young age, and he did it through consistancy, much more than through race wins. He is fast and he is smart. Give him a better car, and he will most likely deliver.

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