Wehrlein: Manor can target points in 2016

Pascal Wehrlein is convinced that top 10 finishes are possible for Manor in Formula 1 this season, judging by its race pace at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Wehrlein: Manor can target points in 2016
Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing MRT05
Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing MRT05
Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing on the grid
Esteban Gutierrez, Haas F1 Team VF-16 and Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing MRT05
The Manor Racing MRT05 of Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing is removed from the track after he crashed during qualifying
Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing MRT05
Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing MRT05 and Max Verstappen, Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 battle for position
Pascal Wehrlein, Manor Racing MRT05 pit stop
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After a disappointing lack of pace in the season opener in Australia, Wehrlein shone in qualifying in Bahrain as he nearly made it out of Q1 – and then ran briefly in the midfield in China after deciding not to pit under the first safety car.

But despite slipping back to 18th in Shanghai, Wehrlein thinks there is more potential in the car than shown so far, and reckons that the flashes of form shown in the last two events are a better indication of where his team is it.

"We can forget Melbourne," he told Motorsport.com. "The last two races, where we are in terms of performance, it was quite similar.

"There is tracks that will suit us better and ones that will suit us worse, but in Australia we were nowhere and the last two races showed our performance.

"Points will be very hard, but they can be possible – and my target is to score points. In China it was not possible though, because 22 cars finished the race and that doesn't happen so often."

'Funny' first lap

Having started near the back of the grid, Wehrlein was perfectly placed to observe the first corner chaos in China – which he labelled as 'funny.'

And despite moving well up the order when Manor chose not to pit at the safety car, Wehrlein thinks that the decision ultimately did hot help.

"The start and first lap was funny," he said. "There was a lot was going on, especially in the first corner.

"My start was good and the first corner as well, because I was in the right position. Everything went fine.

"But I am not sure if the safety car helped us, as we stayed out. And then you are fighting with the other cars with new tyres, and it is really hard.

"So I think it was not the right moment with the safety car. But it was still a good race and we managed to show our performance.

"There was no DNF, and we managed to finish the race in front of [Felipe] Nasr, [Romain] Grosjean, and [Jolyon] Palmer, so we were fighting with them. And now we have to improve more and more."

Degradation

Wehrlein believes that key to Manor making the leap into the points is improving its tyre degradation, which has proved to be a hindrance over the first few races.

"Everyone had problems with tyre deg, but for us it is still too high. We did three stops, even with the safety car, while [Marcus] Ericsson had a different strategy and he managed to finish quite a bit in front of us.

"At the beginning I was racing him and I was in front of him. But then he did one stop less and he finished in front of us."

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