Pascal Wehrlein admits he was 'surprised' to come remarkably close to taking Manor into Q3 during qualifying for the Austrian Grand Prix as he looks towards a tentative points' challenge in the race.
Taking advantage of a circuit he knows well from his time in DTM, Wehrlein was the star performer during the early stages of qualifying after setting the tenth quickest time in Q1.
Only the second time in dry conditions since Manor's F1 debut in 2010 that it has made it out of Q2, Wehrlein very nearly went all the way to Q3 before settling for 12th, just three tenths adrift of the top ten.
Indeed, though Wehrlein was confident Manor had a more competitive car around the Red Bull Ring than of late, 12th is a big boost to the minnow team.
“It was a bit of a surprise,” he said. “In general, we were more competitive this weekend than on weekends before, but [it was] a positive surprise and I think, all of a sudden, we have enough tyre temperature. This weekend, everyone is having a lot of tyre temperature, due to the new surface here and I think it is the first qualifying that we are not suffering with getting the tyres to work.”
Looking ahead to the race, the highly-rated German is hoping cooler temperatures will help him remain competitive over a longer distance.
“I think [expected cooler temperatures] could help us tomorrow with tyre degradation, because we are always suffering with overheating and rear tyre degradation.”