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F1 2016 Driver Review: Pascal Wehrlein

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Pascal Wehrlein

Team: Manor
Car No.: 94
Races: 21
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: 10th (Austria)
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 1
Laps Led: 0
Championship Position: 19th

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Great things were expected of Pascal Wehrlein during his debut Formula 1 season, having tested extensively for Mercedes in the past and won the DTM title in 2015 at the age of 20.

Wehrlein did light things up on occasion for Manor, with the Mercedes power unit making the MRT05 car a rocket ship in a straight line. The German reached Q2 on sixth occasions, and scored just the second point of Manor’s seven-season history in Austria, nicking 10th late on in a race of attrition.

But Wehrlein failed to blow the doors off teammates Rio Haryanto or Esteban Ocon as expected. Uncertainty regarding his ability and attitude prompted Force India to pass over Wehrlein and pick Ocon for a 2017 season, leaving Wehrlein in the lurch.

Right now, a return to Manor seems the most likely option, where Wehrlein will look to wipe the floor with whoever his teammate may be and prove he can be a solid grand prix racer.

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Numerous Q2 appearances and a 10th place in Austria were the highlights for the young German with rather neat hair and almost too perfect eyebrows, yet somehow despite those achievements it felt like Pascal Wehrlein wasn’t quite as dynamic as he needed to be.

For one, he didn’t blow the lesser-rated Rio Haryanto into the weeds as he should have. And secondly, once Esteban Ocon came in in the second half of the year, Wehrlein didn’t seem to raise his game to match except in Abu Dhabi. Ocon’s near-points drive at Brazil could have netted multiple points. And it also spoke volumes that Ocon immediately got the Force India drive vacated by Nico Hulkenberg.

A promotion to Mercedes next year for Wehrlein isn’t necessarily guaranteed, and it’d be a quantum leap in terms of the car at his disposal and the expectations required. It also would have the potential to damage his career long-term if he can’t measure up. Weird times lie ahead for the good, but not yet great, young driver.

Recapping the proper Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel rivalry (VIDEO)

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Lewis Hamilton and Sebastien Vettel are the two most decorated drivers currently on the Formula 1 grid, with seven World Championships between them (four for Vettel, and three for Hamilton).

However, their paths have rarely crossed on the track, and only in 2010 did both drivers battle each for a World Championship in the same year. They also battled Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber that year, with Vettel emerging on top to claim his first World Championship.

However, the 2017 season sees Hamilton and Vettel in the two best cars on the grid, and they have gone head-to-head multiple times already this year, with each claiming two victories through the first five races. Currently, Vettel leads Hamilton 104-98 in the world championship, and the two men are developing a strong on-track rivalry.

Monaco Grand Prix coverage continues with FP3 and qualifying on Saturday. Full times are linked here.

 

Take a look behind the scenes of Fernando Alonso’s Indy 500 qualifying runs (VIDEO)

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In Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, we take you behind the scenes during F1 superstar Fernando Alonso’s qualifying runs for the Indy 500, including when he was on the pole for a brief period. He’ll eventually start fifth. 

Simulator ride tells what Fernando Alonso can expect in Indianapolis 500 (VIDEO)

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On Friday’s NASCAR AMERICA Motorsports Special on NBCSN, Parker Kligerman and his backseat driver, Kyle Petty, took to the iRacing simulator to make a mock run around Indianapolis Motor Speedway in preparation for Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

They look at the challenges of IMS, as well as the challenges two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso will face in the first oval track race in his illustrious career. Alonso is among the favorites in the race and will take the green flag from the middle of Row 2 (fifth position).

Check out the above video.  

Legendary announcer Ken Squier gets you ready for Sunday’s big day of racing (VIDEO)

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Sunday is the biggest day of the year in motorsports, starting in the morning with Formula 1’s legendary Monaco Grand Prix.

Then, at Noon ET, it’s the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The final part of the tripleheader of racing is NASCAR’s longest race of the season, the 400-lap, 600-mile Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Newly-named NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 inductee Ken Squier gives you a great primer for what promises to be a memorable day around the world (see video above).