Pascal Wehrlein led Manor into the second stage of Formula 1 qualifying for the second time in seven days with an impressive display on Saturday at Monza ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.
Wehrlein reached Q2 for the second time in 2016 at Spa last weekend, but was resigned to P15 on the grid after a scruffy run in the session.
This time around, Wehrlein was able to not only edge into Q2 by 0.065 seconds, but he then qualified P14 ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button and Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr.
Taking Romain Grosjean’s grid penalty into account, Wehrlein moves up to P13 on the grid for the start of the Italian Grand Prix.
“Really happy with qualifying, especially when you take into account how things were for us this morning,” Wehrlein said.
“We were struggling, I couldn’t get a clear lap; it was frustrating as it wasn’t quite coming together then. But it did in qualifying, when it mattered, and definitely the pace was right there, perhaps more than we expected.
“Although I got the most from the package today, there’s still more to find in the car that I hope we can tap into in the race.
“It will be difficult tomorrow; everyone has a Monza package for Monza! But we’ve put ourselves in the mix and from here we can have a very good race, maybe making the most of some opportunities.
“As for the start, Spa was disappointing – it was racing – but we start again tomorrow. The first two corners are very tight, so we have to watch out, but I’m excited and confident and I want to do a really great job.”
Manor teammate Esteban Ocon was unable to emulate Wehrlein, suffering a failure on his car early in Q1 that prevented him from posting a qualifying time.
“The car just died. The dash went, the engine cut – I had no information,” Ocon explained.
“It looks like a repeat of yesterday’s electrical problem, but we’re taking a good look and exploring everything to make sure that doesn’t happen again tomorrow.”
The Italian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.