Pascal Wehrlein says 16th is an 'amazing position to start a race' for the Manor Racing team as he lived up to expectations in qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix by almost cracking Q2.
The German was tipped for a Q2 challenge after FP2 having shown solid pace without using the super-soft tyres, in what would be a landmark result for minnows Manor
Indeed, Wehrlein would duly emerge as one of the stars of qualifying, the reigning DTM champion hauling himself up the order to 16th place, just 0.2s shy of Q2.
Arguably the best qualifying performance by Manor since its 2010 debut in terms of pure pace (penalties ahead have seen its cars start races higher), though Wehrlein was pleased with his performance, he says Q2 was his ultimate aim.
“I was aiming for Q2 to be honest. I knew that I would have a good car in qualifying and I felt much more confident. In the end you saw I just moved it by 0.2s but my position now feels like an amazing position to be in and start the race.”
“Manor has done an amazing job coming here and we were all confident that it will be much better here than in Melbourne because as I said we had some problems there. They solved that and you see now we are competitive because in Melbourne we were far at the back. We were not missing just a few tenths, we were far at the back. Now it felt like a different car, like the car I had driven in Barcelona so I am happy with that.”
Looking ahead to the race, Wehrlein says he doesn't want to make predictions, but is hoping to remain competitive with the cars around him, which include Sauber, Renault and the Force India of Sergio Perez.
“I'm looking forward to the race. It's hard to tell you the goals and the expectations because there are too many unsure things - how tyre degradation will be, strategy things, if we are competitive over the long runs - so I will push as hard as possible.”