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Wehrlein banks “incredible achievement” with Manor’s first 2016 points

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Pascal Wehrlein has scored the first point of his Formula 1 career in Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix with 10th place for Manor, after qualifying a career-best 12th.

It also marks the first point for the Manor Racing team since the late Jules Bianchi’s memorable ninth place finish in the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix. It breaks the tie between Manor and Sauber at the back of the Constructor’s Championship; Sauber is now the only team yet to score this season.

Wehrlein ran Pirelli’s soft compound through to the finish, the final 40 laps.

“At one point I was feeling quite dejected, because we were a little unlucky with our strategy in relation to the safety car,” Wehrlein said in the team’s post-race release. “I’d just pitted, so when I came out after my second stop, I was last. That wasn’t such a great feeling, but we just had to work with what we had, which was soft tires all the way to the finish – 40 laps!

“To finish the race in the points from that position by running for more than half a race distance on a single set of tires is an incredible achievement.”

Wehrlein said the result means a lot because it was on legitimate pace and shows the team’s improvement.

“It’s very important. Not just because of what it means for our position in the championship, but it also shows that we have made real progress,” he said. “It’s been a step-by-step process, and one that hasn’t always been visible to people outside of the team, but today is a good day and a really great reward for all of us.

“It’s incredible. I’m so happy! It’s just been one of those weekends and to end it this way is a fantastic reward for everyone.”

Lest Wehrlein’s day be the only one of note for Manor, teammate Rio Haryanto banked a respectable 16th place result – his second-best this season (15th at Monaco).

The team was understandably happy, so here was its reaction as the race wound down on Twitter:

Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace

Lewis Hamilton Bubba Wallace
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Lewis Hamilton is a fan of the new NASCAR Cup Series team formed by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan to field a car for Bubba Wallace.

Will the six-time Formula One champion also be a fan in person at a NASCAR race in the near future?

Wallace is hoping so.

After Hamilton tweeted his support Tuesday morning about the news of a Hamlin-Jordan-Wallace team making its debut with the 2021 season, Wallace responded with a sly invitation to the Daytona 500.

Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

But it would seem fitting given that Hamilton and Wallace have been two of the world’s most outspoken Black athletes about the quest for diversity and racial justice. Hamilton recently reaffirmed his commitment to activism after his donning a Breonna Taylor shirt sparked an FIA inquiry.

The idea of Hamilton attending the season opener already had legs, too. The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 driver has expressed a desire to race the Daytona 500 after he has retired from Formula One.

He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.

Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.

Jeff Gordon was flanked by Mario Andretti and Lewis Hamilton before the 2015 Cup season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).