JULY 3, 2016
Wehrlein a very special driver says Wolff
Pascal Wehrlein's F1 career took a major step forward in Austria, according to Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
Currently placed at Manor for his rookie season, the reigning DTM champion is actually a strongly-backed Mercedes junior.
German Wehrlein, 21, has sometimes failed to shine too brightly in 2016 alongside his Indonesian-backed teammate Rio Haryanto.
But at the Red Bull Ring, Wehrlein was not only half a second clear of Haryanto on the short Austrian layout, he was also faster in both Q1 and Q2 than both Romain Grosjean's Haas and the McLaren-Honda of champion Fernando Alonso.
Wehrlein therefore lines up a career-best 12th.
"For the first time in F1 he has really shown that he is a very special driver," Mercedes' Wolff said, according to the German news agency SID.
"This is the first track that Pascal has raced on previously, and this effect should not be underestimated," he added.
Indeed, last year during the Red Bull Ring's DTM round, Wehrlein was caught up in the "push him out" saga, involving Timo Scheider being instructed to punt rivals into the gravel.
Wehrlein poked fun at the controversy during his F1 track walk this weekend, posting to Twitter a photo of being 'pushed out' at the same part of the track by a Manor engineer.
"Looks like I got pushed out again," he joked.