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