APRIL 14, 2017
Wehrlein hits back after injury speculation
Pascal Wehrlein has hit out at the media, as he returns from injury to contest this weekend's Bahrain grand prix.
The German sat out both Australia and China following his winter rollover crash at the race of champions.
We reported this week that Wehrlein, 22, finally revealed that he had fractured three vertebrae in the impact, delaying his recovery and return to fitness.
But while he was out of action, wild speculation did the rounds suggesting either that Wehrlein was the victim of a political situation, or not sufficiently motivated to race whilst unfit.
Indeed, amid the rumours, his bosses at Mercedes and Sauber appeared to disagree about the extent of Wehrlein's injuries.
But the driver said in Bahrain: "Sauber and Mercedes knew from the beginning.
"It was clear that I would not get back into the car until I'm 100pc fit. The only unfavourable thing was the way some media reported.
"If you don't know what injury someone has, you should not criticise them," he insisted.
However, one interpretation is that the entire media saga could have been avoided if it was revealed from the beginning that Wehrlein had fractured back bones.
"We said that I was injured in my back. You only had to add two and two together to know that it wasn't a strain," Wehrlein insisted.
"Now, I want to enjoy this weekend. The most important thing is my comeback -- the rest is a side issue."
And he said that despite his recent injury, he can now get on with the rest of his F1 career with confidence.
"The doctors say that the back can be loaded in the same way as before, and in fact that the bones become stronger at the fracture site," said Wehrlein.