Mercedes-Benz’s Toto Wolff admits that sixth on the grid “is not where we want to be” after Pascal Wehrlein put his car on the third row of the grid in qualifying for the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) at the Hockenheimring.
Having been second and fifth fastest in Q1 and Q2 respectively, Wehrlein continued to be the pace-setting Mercedes driver in Q3, ending up in sixth on the grid for the final race of the season.
“In the circumstances, P6 is a respectable result for us,” said Wehrlein, who is this weekend driving Mercedes’ new C-Coupé along with his sixth other stable-mates. “It’s perhaps not the outcome that we had expected, but we can achieve a lot from this position on the grid.”
Qualifying proved to be especially close at the Hockenheimring, with less than nine tenths of a second covering the top 22 cars in Q1. In the end, Wehrlein was less than two tenths from pole position.
“We had some difficulties in free practice, but that’s fairly standard if you’ve brought along new parts and you’ve not had a lot of time to try them out,” added Wehrlein, who also celebrates his 20th birthday today. “We’ve improved the car since this morning. We’re expecting a tough race tomorrow, but I’ll be going all out on the attack in this last race of the season.”
Mercedes-Benz Head of Motorsport Toto Wolff admits that sixth is not where the marque aims to be on the grid, especially given their introduction of seven new cars this weekend in an effort to improve their fortunes.
“Pascal’s sixth position on the grid is, of course, not where we want to be,” admitted Wolff. “However, today’s qualifying was really close as regards to lap times.
“We’ve got a brand new car here with lots of new parts. When you drive a new car for the first time, it’s never easy to get everything out of it immediately with little practice time. Now, we’ll continue to work hard in order to finish the season with a successful result in tomorrow’s race.”
Paul di Resta was the only other Mercedes driver to make it into the top ten, a result which is only partially satisfying for the Scot.
“I’m reasonably satisfied with my result,” said di Resta. “It’s a little bit frustrating – we were in good shape for Q3. We had two sets of tyres left over thanks to our speed in Q1. We’ve got a very good setup and I’m very confident with where the car is.”
Three other Mercedes drivers made it into Q2, with Robert Wickens qualifying in 12th, Gary Paffett in 16th and Daniel Juncadella in 17th. Christian Vietoris and Vitaly Petrov were the slowest drivers, putting their cars in 22nd and 23rd positions respectively.