Wehrlein enjoys strong test showing in spite of illness

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Mercedes AMG Petronas test driver Pascal Wehrlein enjoyed another successful test for the German team in Barcelona on Wednesday despite suffering from illness that had sidelined him from Tuesday’s running.

Wehrlein had been due to test for Force India on Tuesday in Barcelona following last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, but was replaced by GP2 driver Nick Yelloly due to illness.

Despite not being 100% fit, the German driver got behind the wheel of the Mercedes W06 Hybrid car on Wednesday and put in an impressive display, finishing second in the final standings after leading for much of the day.

“Today was a really good day,” Wehrlein said on Wednesday. “I was driving this car for the second time and it’s always a pleasure – especially after yesterday, which was a big disappointment for me.

“I still don’t feel 100% but it’s much better, so luckily I’ve been able to drive. We did some long runs before lunch and I was able to get a lot of laps, which was good as I had to adapt to the car again. But I felt comfortable from the start.”

Wehrlein explained how he could notice the progress that had been made with the car since he last tested for the team during pre-season.

“The Mercedes Power Unit is unbelievable and the chassis too, with a very good balance,” he said. “I could feel it has changed a bit since I last drove it during winter testing.

“The team has clearly been working hard and developing it even further. It’s definitely a step forward and I’ve loved every minute of being behind the wheel.”

Wehrlein continues to balance his reserve duties with both Mercedes and Force India with a full season in the German DTM series, in which he finished the first race of the season in second place.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.