Antonio Giovniazzi can see the silver lining in 22-year-old Pascal Wehrlein’s injury cloud as the Italian is set to race again for team Sauber in Sunday’s race. Wehrlein missed out on the Melbourne edition after suffering a back injury.
The Italian substitute, 23, took twelfth place in the Australian Grand Prix after being handed his debut.
Although missing out on both races, Wehrlein is hoping to make a comeback in the third Race in Bahrain, or the one after in Russia. Speaking to reporters, the German said, “For me the most important is that I can train intensively to ensure a 100% performance from my side as soon as possible.
“I will then be well-prepared for my first complete grand prix weekend for Sauber.”
Wehrlein was in contention to replace retired World Champion Nico Rosberg at Mercedes’ helm, but the starlet was forced out of action after sustaining a back injury following a crash in January during the Miami event.
Mercedes boss, Toto Wolff, voiced his encouragement for the young driver, hoping the German will “come back strong.”
“I feel for Pascal, because he has had all the bad luck,” said Wolff.
“I’m impressed with the maturity he has shown to inform Sauber that he wouldn’t be able to perform at the level required in Melbourne.
“That took courage and selflessness, which I know earned him a lot of credit within the team.”
Indeed, in spite of his young years, Wehrlein demonstrated maturity and poise when in March he confessed that although he had recovered, he would not be ready to race in Melbourne.
“My back is fine but I took a step back in terms of fitness and I’m trying to catch up,” the 22-year-old said.
“I am not feeling like I could do a whole race at my best level.”
Sebastien Vettel was the cream of the crop in Melbourne, after steering Ferrari to an impressive victory that saw him oust Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas that sparked accusations that Mercedes’ golden Brit is not up for the challenge.
Hamilton, however, made his intentions clear last week, saying, “It is going to be a close race. I truly believe we can beat them. It’s great to see Ferrari there.”
It appears as though Mercedes’ domination of the sport is coming to an end, with Ferrari set to usurp the Formula One giants and regain their former glory.
Antonio Giovinazzi, meanwhile, will be hoping to step up to the plate and strut his stuff this coming Sunday, as he will be looking to impress his employers. That said, it would not be easy for him to take the place of one of the sport’s most promising talents in Pascal Wehrlein.
Who do you think will conquer the track in China? Can Hamilton do enough to surpass the pace and power of his Ferrari counterparts? Have your say in the comments section below.