Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff has spoken warmly of junior drivers Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein despite the pair experiencing vastly different fortunes over the Australian Grand Prix weekend.

Ocon scored his first F1 point with Force India in Melbourne, winning a race-long battle against Fernando Alonso and Nico Hulkenberg to finish the race in 10th place.

Wehrlein, meanwhile, was forced to withdraw from the race weekend after practice when his back injury proved too problematic, leading to Antonio Giovinazzi taking his seat at Sauber.

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Even though the Mercedes-backed youngsters had juxtaposing weekends, Wolff was deeply impressed by both of them in Australia.

"Our young drivers have also impressed me in different ways," Wolff explained. "Seeing Esteban not only fighting with top drivers like Alonso and Hulkenberg but coming out as the winner to take his first F1 point in Melbourne made me proud.

"I feel for Pascal, because he has had all the bad luck. I'm impressed with the maturity he has shown to inform Sauber that he wouldn't be able to perform at the level required in Melbourne. That took courage and selflessness, which I know earned him a lot of credit within the team.

"Now, he needs to build up his fitness and come back strong. I have no doubt that when he's back in the car, he'll prove he's still the same Pascal."

Sauber confirmed yesterday that Wehrlein will miss this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix as he continues to recover from his injury and catch up on training, and may also be ruled out of the Bahrain race on the following Sunday.

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