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F1 Austrian Grand Prix: Joy as Wehrlein returns Manor to top ten

Pascal Wehrlein claims a remarkable tenth place finish in the Austrian Grand Prix to grant Manor only its second-ever points' finish.
Pascal Wehrlein has described his tenth place finish in the Austrian Grand Prix as 'amazing' as Manor cracked the points for only the second-time since its 2010 F1 debut.

A remarkable weekend for the minnow team, though Manor has been enjoying its most competitive F1 season this year thanks to new investment and a partnership with Mercedes, the likelihood of points coming to Austria still appeared relatively slim.

Furthermore, though Wehrlein would demonstrate the potential of the MRT05 package around the Red Bull Ring by qualifying a surprise 12th, an unlucky moment to have made his pit-stop just before a safety car put him at the back of the field and 12secs adrift of the pack.

Remarkably though, Wehrlein would go long on the soft tyres, picking up positions as others pitted up ahead, to find himself on the tail of tenth place Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages. Keen to find a way past, fortune would favour the young German when Sergio Perez crashed out ahead, allowing him to inherit tenth and the final point on the very last lap.

“Under these circumstances, it feels great. In the middle of the race I was thinking the race was done because we were so unlucky with the safety car. But I kept pushing and tried to manage my tyres because I didn't want to stop again and in the end I was fighting with Bottas.

“When I crossed the start-finish line, I looked at the screen and I saw my name in P10 and I thought it must have been Perez. I asked the team, I was lapped and I wasn't sure what the rule is. So I asked if we managed to finish P10 or P11 and they said P10. Amazing.

“The team told me you need to keep [Esteban] Gutierrez behind you. He is on fresh tyres but you need to keep him behind and you can maybe score a point. It was a tough race at the end.”

Only the second time Manor has cracked the top ten in seven seasons of racing – the first being the late Jules Bianchi's ninth place in the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix -, Wehrlein came very close to scuppering his chances before the race had started when he pulled into the wrong pit box, before reversing into the correct spot just in time.

“I knew Massa was out but I didn't see him when we started the formation lap. I didn't think about it, I went behind the next guy, stopped and then I realised there was a red car in front of me. I put in reverse gear and managed to stop the car before the first light went on. Half a second later I would get a penalty.”

The result means Manor has moved ahead of Sauber for tenth place in the constructors' reckoning.
by Ollie Barstow



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