It’s only the qualifying session for the first race of the 2013 Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters season, and the young guns of the Mercedes-Benz team are already pushing hard. Christian Vietoris and Robert Wickens secured second-row starts for the season-opening race at Hockenheim, while five of the six drivers of the team managed to make it into the top ten.
With Vietoris starting at P3, Wickens fourth, Gary Paffett at sixth, Pascal Wehrlein eighth, and Daniel Juncadella tenth, the Mercedes team is in strong position to get solid results this weekend. Roberto Merhi, on the other hand, struggled with the track and failed to make it to Q2 after spinning out, and he ended up at 20th place on the grid.
“Even though I could possibly have taken more risks on my lap in the final session, I still met my target and I’m very happy,” said Vietoris, who is in the Junior Team (along with Wickens, Wehrlein, Juncadella, and Merhi) mentored by Nico Rosberg. “We can feel very satisfied to have got five Mercedes-Benz drivers into the Top Ten.”
Race-day Sunday will feature 42 laps of fast-paced action at Hockenheim. Audi’s Timo Schneider starts at pole position, followed by BMW’s Augusto Farfus.
Mercedes-Benz Motorsport chief Toto Wolff recognized the solid performance from a team standpoint, and he said that it only shows that the team is “on the right track with our philosophy of focusing on promising young drivers.”
Still, with the veteran Paffett in sixth, he is still in very good shape to assert himself and go for the win or a podium, at least.