‘Spanish performance answers Wehrlein’s critics’

Date published: May 16 2017

Sauber have held up their hand over Pascal Wehrlein’s Spanish GP penalty, saying it was a late call by the team that resulted in his error and the loss of P7.

Starting 15th on the grid at the Circuit de Catalunya, Sauber’s decision to put Wehrlein on a one-stop strategy elevated the German inside the top ten.

That, though, was threatened when he was hit with a five-second penalty for entering the pit lane on the wrong side of the bollard.

Sauber say that’s because they called him in late.

“It was an excellent drive,” team boss Monisha Kaltenborn told Autosport.

“It’s sad that the call was made so late to get him in that he got that penalty but it doesn’t matter.

“He had a split second, the call just came a bit too late but he could still react.

“But we shouldn’t be crying about what could have been – we’re happy with what there is.”

Wehrlein crossed the line in seventh place but dropped to eighth when the penalty was applied.

It was, however, still Sauber’s first points of the 2017 season and Kaltenborn reckons the result has answered Wehrlein’s critics who had a go at the drive after he missed Australia and China with a back injury.

“It’s great for him because he was exposed to a lot of unfair criticism and definitely not professional criticism,” she said.

“It’s important for his confidence, because he is a talented driver – that’s why we signed him.

“These results are good for his development.

“This performance answers his critics, I don’t know what they would criticise now.”