Pascal Wehrlein insists that his FP2 time was representative of Manor's true pace at the Belgian Grand Prix, despite eleventh place being higher than usual for the British minnow.
With a new team-mate in the shape of Esteban Ocon to hurry him along, Wehrlein – who scored a valuable point for his team in Austria – claimed eleventh place on the afternoon timesheets at Spa-Francorchamps, a matter of hundredths ahead of Fernando Alonso's McLaren and with Lewis Hamilton a further place back after eschewing the supersoft Pirelli in unexpectedly hot conditions.
EXCLUSIVE: Jenson Button - Why my F1 future is in my hands…
While Wehrlein might be expected to fall back a few spots as the weekend wears on, the German is adamant that his tun of pace should not be taken lightly.
“The afternoon was more representative than the morning,” he claimed, “We didn't drive the soft tyre or the super soft, we only ran the medium and the test compound. I think, for FP2, everyone more or less goes to the strange strategy because [that will be] the conditions we will have in qualifying tomorrow, more or less, but the afternoon was more representative [and] I am pretty happy.
“In the morning, I didn't really know what to expect from the afternoon because we only drove the medium tyre and the test compound. It should be a soft tyre, the test compound, but it is actually quite a bit slower, as we discovered in the afternoon. In the morning, we didn't learn too much because we didn't know where the balance is with the other compounds, but the afternoon was really good, the best free practice result for us this year.”
BELGIAN GP: 6 Things to WATCH out for at the Belgian Grand Prix
Quick to point out that he and Ocon were 'on different strategies' during the morning session – where the French rookie finished three places and a full second ahead of him – Wehrlein confirmed that the pair 'were on the same strategies, same tyres' in the afternoon, but denied that Ocon's arrival – at the behest of Mercedes which counts both amongst its protégés – had forced him to adopt a new mindset over the summer break.
“No change at all,” the German insisted.
Latest Tweets from Crash.net & GPF1rst