Wehrlein: Sauber slide hid personal gains
9 December 2017 – Pascal Wehrlein believes Sauber's regression through the second half of 2017 masked his improvements, as he faces an uncertain future, having lost his seat with the team.
Mercedes-backed Wehrlein moved from Manor to Sauber and scored points in Spain (eighth) and Azerbaijan (10th) during the first phase of the campaign.
However, Sauber slipped further adrift at the back of the pack, as it tried to develop its C36, accentuated by the use of a year-old power unit.
Wehrlein was unable to escape Q1 through the second half of the season, qualifying on the back row five times, as he took a best race result of 12th in Singapore.
When asked whether he felt he had been able to display his potential in 2017, Wehrlein said: "I think in the first half of the season yes.
"In the second half the gap was a few times too big, and even if we had a good race in the second half of the season you couldn't see it as the gap was too big.
"For example, at Suzuka, I was lapped by the second last guy, so what can you do there?
"In terms of result [Spain was] the best race of the year but probably in the second half of the season I had better races but you couldn't see it.
"Malaysia was one of them, we were close to Q2 and the race was quite good.
"I think [Brazil] was quite good in terms of performance. There we were not so far from Q2 I think, just one or two tenths."
On 2017, Wehrlein commented: "I was always giving my best, I think that's the most important thing you can say about yourself, when the opportunity was there we took it.
"You can always do things better and with more experience you think 'ah one or two races ago I was doing this direction with the set-up, now I know this was worse and I should have gone in this direction'.
"You always learn something, but I can definitely say I was always giving my best and scored five points when we could score points, that's important."
Wehrlein scored all five of Sauber's 2017 points to finish 18th in the standings.