Mercedes’ Pascal Wehrlein says that he is ‘disappointed’ with qualifying in seventh position for the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) race at Zandvoort, despite being the best-placed driver for the manufacturer on the grid.
Wehrlein, who won last time out at the Lausitzring, had started Saturday slowly, managing just 22nd and 20th in first and second practice respectively. However the young German upped his game in qualifying, going sixth fastest in Q1 before setting the fastest time of all in Q2.
In Q3 Wehrlein was seventh, although he will start from sixth on the grid as a result of Audi’s Mattias Ekström being handed a grid penalty for blocking in Q1.
“The result is a bit disappointing,” admitted Wehrlein, whose time in Q2 was the fastest lap of the day. “We had some problems in free practice, so I was rather surprised that I was so fast in Q1 and Q2.
“We just couldn’t get it together in Q3, but seventh on the grid isn’t too bad when you consider where we were in free practice this morning. After Q2, I had naturally set my sights higher, but I was having difficulty with the tyres in the final sector. We’ll have to find the reason.”
Wehrlein’s disappointment was mirrored by Mercedes’ Wolfgang Schattling, who believes that a higher grid position could have been achieved for the youngster but for a problem in the pitlane with a wheel nut during a planned switch to fresh rubber.
“It was not a perfect qualifying,” said Schattling. “Pascal could have achieved much more than seventh position on the grid today, and there may have been a technical problem with a wheel nut.
“He would have been in pole position with his time from Q2. Unfortunately, it did not work out. Now we have to analyse what exactly hindered Pascal. He is really fast and we can expect a lot more from him.”
With only one Mercedes making it through to Q3, and the next best driver for the marque being Gary Paffett in 11th, Schattling played down the chances of a race-day recovery around a circuit he does not believe suits the car.
“The Zandvoort track has not always well suited us,” admitted Schattling. “It demands a lot of downforce and is really hard on tyres. But let’s wait and see how the race develops.”