The final practice session managed to see Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel beat the lap record in Australia (although not official until it’s done in the race) and lead the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas. It also saw Antonio Giovinazzi take the wheel of Pascal Werhlein’s Sauber and it seems he’ll be doing that for the remainder of the weekend.
Wehrlein injured his back at the International Race of Champions nine weeks ago and still hasn’t seemed to get back to 100% but defended his withdrawal from the race weekend.
“So every situation is different. We are not feeling comfortable to race this weekend.”
He added: “The injury happened, I think, nine weeks ago, and that was the time where you just have to prepare as good as you can for the season.
“The injury took me a step backwards, of course, and now I’m just catching up.
“I felt like everything was OK, but just not for the whole race distance.
“You never drive under race circumstances, and yesterday in the car in the long run you feel it more than in testing or in shorter runs.”
Pascal missed quite a bit of the testing and will now miss the first race and you have to wonder if he will make a full recovery for the China Grand Prix next even though team boss Manisha Kaltenborn says he will.
This lingering issue will need to right itself quickly or Antonio may have just found himself a ride for the 2017 season. Things are not looking grand for Wehrlein at the moment.
Hat Tip: Autosport
Wehrlein tried to ‘eff with the Swede’, he’s paying the consequences.
Stoked to see the shuffled pack in FP3, Ferrari at the front, and 4th, Renault 5th! Haas 7th! RBR only 6th and 12th. STR’s 8th and 9th, and Williams in 11th (!) and the wall :-(
Fingers crossed things are this mixed up after quali.
Will the Swede haul that Sauber into Q3?……..
Well he got it to Q2, though they had to remind Giovinazzi of who not to ‘eff with’ late in the lap to make sure of that :-) Great quali, bad luck for Ricciardo backing into the tyres at turn 14, when these new cars let go, there’s no coming back. Ferrari are up there with Mercedes, but 3 tenths off in ultimate pace is still a big margin to catch up. Great work by BigJohn to get up to 6th. Still driving through the brake issues, with a few lock ups even on his best lap. I think Massa… Read more »
Still concerned for Wehrlein. His future is looking increasingly uncertain sadly.
That said, I was very impressed by Giovanazzi’s performance and honestly that of Sauber as a team. Fully expected them to start on the back row this weekend and they both put in decent performances.
Much like F1 needs races in France and Germany, it really needs an Italian driver in the series full time.
Italy has a whole team to cheer for, as well as many excellent engineers and technical staff across the teams.
Hopefully greater media coverage will allow fans to see deeper into the teams than just the drivers and technical directors and every country can see where it’s people are involved in this international sport/business/entertainment
It is pretty unfortunate for Wehrlein. I see the comments have changed from it being a neck problem to a back problem.
Hope it doesn’t ruin his career, also hope this doesn’t stop F1 drivers taking part in the RoC events