“I have arrived again” | DTM
2018-05-20 15:15:00

“I have arrived again”

“I have arrived again”

The DTM return is a successful one. 967 days after his third-place finish in the race at the Nürburgring, Pascal Wehrlein scored another podium result at the Lausitzring on Sunday. The Mercedes-AMG driver was remarkably calm after his successful comeback. The 23-year old had a quiet smile on his face during the prize-giving ceremony. Not a sign of buoyant joy. “Of course it has been a while, but the feeling is still the same. And the sparkling wine still tastes nicely,” said Wehrlein, who was third across the finish line behind his fellow Mercedes-AMG driver Gary Paffett and BMW driver Marco Wittmann. “Marco overtook me during the pit stop, but he probably would have done so anyway. He was the fastest today. In the race, I didn’t have a chance against both of them, I was unable to keep up with their speed. We were the third-fastest car. For the second weekend, I can certainly be happy with that.”

For the ex-Formula 1 driver, Sunday already started in a promising way with second place in qualifying. He was only 26 thousandths of a second down on pole sitter Philipp Eng in the BMW. After fifth, eleventh and fourth places in previous qualifying sessions, this was another clear sign of progress for the 2015 champion. “Today, it was the first qualifying with which I was happy. At times, the first lap was the fastest and then it was the second lap. Actually, it always has to be the first lap. Today, I had the feeling for the first time that I could have secured pole position.”

“I want to battle for victory. That is my goal.”

With 39 points, Wehrlein is now third in the drivers’ standings behind Paffett (71) and Timo Glock (72). “I have arrived in the DTM again. I am feeling better and better. At Hockenheim, the transition already caused little trouble for me. Here, it was another step forward. I hope that the learning curve keeps going upward and that I will be able to battle for victory son. That is my goal,” Wehrlein says clearly. He knows exactly what he has to work on. “I am not entirely satisfied with the set-up of the car yet. There, we still have to find some tweeks.”

Especially the lack of tyre heaters causes worries for Wehrlein: “I have to learn how to manage the Hankook tyres better. In my past years in the DTM, there wasn’t any tyre degradation. You can’t just drive every lap and push like in qualifying, you have to be really careful how you go about warming up the tyres. On the first laps, you have to treat them carefully, but you still can’t afford to lose to much time. Finding the right balance there, that is where I am still slightly lacking experience. With every new set of tyres, with every additional kilometre, I am feeling more comfortable.”

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