Norisring DTM: Wehrlein wins as Mercedes dominates

Pascal Wehrlein scored Mercedes’s first DTM victory of 2015 with a dominant display by the Three-Pointed Star at the Norisring.

In a wet/dry race, Wehrlein gambled by starting the race on slicks unlike the rest of the leading runners. Although he slithered backwards in the early stages, as those ahead of him pitted as the track dried completely, he inherited the lead.

After that, Wehrlein drove a defensive masterclass in the closing stages for his second career win.

The race started wet, as a brief rain shower soaked the track, with poleman Christian Vietoris starting on wets along with Gary Paffett, while Audi’s points leader Jamie Green gambled on slicks along with Wehrlein.

Paffett made the best start, but Vietoris grabbed back the lead around the outside of Turn 1. But a pile-up at the exit of Turn 1 brought out the safety car, as Nico Muller and Lucas Auer clashed.

At the restart, it was a Mercedes top four with Vietoris leading Paffett, Robert Wickens and Paul di Resta. Martin Tomczyk was the leading BMW, ahead of Dani Juncadella’s Mercedes.

Green had dropped to 12th behind Mike Rockenfeller – who started 22nd. Rockenfeller tore into the top seven to be top Audi at the time.

Wickens outbraked Paffett for second on lap 11, as a dry line began to emerge.

Paffett was the first frontrunner to pit for slicks on lap 15, with Vietoris stopping a lap later with Wickens – who was setting some rapid laptimes – right behind him.

Vietoris retained the lead of the wet-shod starters, ahead of Wickens and Paffett. Di Resta and Tomczyk pitted an extra lap later, di Resta rejoining just ahead of Green. They clashed at the Schoeller Esses, having collided here last year also on the warm-up lap!

Di Resta, who banged wheels with Bruno Spengler’s BMW just before the hit from Green, was spun around and forced out with suspension damage.

With Wehrlein inheriting the lead on his older slick tyres, the pursuing Vietoris, Wickens and Paffett were nose-to-tail at half distance, with Augusto Farfus’s BMW also in close attendance.

Wickens passed Vietoris on the exit of Turn 1, without much of a fight being put up, and Vietoris was then advised “your teammate is faster” as Paffett caught him too.

Paffett was also allowed through, and then quickly closed down Wickens for second.

After a near-miss at Turn 1 on lap 26, Wickens raised his pace and began to close on Wehrlein – who was on older tyres.

In the closing stages, Wehrlein had Wickens, Paffett and Vietoris right on his tail, but the advantage their fresher rubber gave seemed to fade away.

Spengler passed Farfus for fifth and first non-Mercedes status, and although he caught the Mercs late on, he was never a threat.

‘Mr Norisring’ Green worked his way up to sixth, having escaped censure for the di Resta collision, but his strategy of starting on slicks cost him dearly.

Martin Tomczyk's BMW passed him to claim a top-six finish right near the end.

Pos Driver  Car   Time  Gap
Pascal Wehrlein Mercedes 41m02.170  
Robert Wickens Mercedes 41m02.526 0.356
Gary Paffett Mercedes 41m02.912 0.742
Christian Vietoris Mercedes 41m03.532 1.362
Bruno Spengler BMW 41m04.954 2.784
Martin Tomczyk BMW 41m07.072 4.902
Jamie Green Audi 41m07.449 5.279
Augusto Farfus BMW 41m10.742 8.572
Marco Wittmann BMW 41m11.113 8.943
10  Daniel Juncadella Mercedes 41m11.432 9.262
11  Edoardo Mortara Audi 41m13.652 11.482
12  Antonio Felix da Costa BMW 41m15.488 13.318
13  Timo Glock BMW 41m18.160 15.990
14  Mike Rockenfeller Audi 41m19.865 17.695
15  Lucas Auer Mercedes 41m20.105 17.935
16  Timo Scheider Audi 41m22.887 20.717
17  Mattias Ekstrom Audi 41m23.639 21.469
18  Nico Muller Audi 41m27.808 25.638
19  Adrien Tambay Audi 41m42.593 40.423
20  Miguel Molina Audi 41m49.964 47.794

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About this article
Series DTM
Event Norisring
Track Norisring
Drivers Gary Paffett , Robert Wickens , Pascal Wehrlein
Article type Race report