It’s a very special day for Roberto Merhi as the Spanish driver of the Manor F1 Team will be on tomorrow’s starting grid of the Malaysian Grand Prix, his first ever time in a F1 race. Roberto is starting from the 10th row.
This morning the third and final free practice session was held and here, the Castellón born driver, still in the first phase of discovering the behavior of his car, managed finally to beat his team mate by almost four tenths of a second. A good augury for the qualifying session where Merhi was again 19th and, even if his time was two tenths out of the 107% cut-off, the stewards decided that, given the lap times he set in free practice, he has shown enough speed to be allowed to race on Sunday.
An achievement of great merit, given the circumstances of this beginning of the season, with the reborn Manor team doing a titanic task rewarded with this great result. Tomorrow Roberto Merhi will be on the starting grid besides some of the big names that he has admired since the start of his racing career.
Roberto Merhi: “Now I can really feel like a F1 driver. Tomorrow I will have the chance to be on a F1 starting grid for the first time and it will be a very special moment, maybe the most intense I’ve lived so far. I only miss my parents not being here with me, in Malaysia, to share it all together as they are as involved as me in what’s happening. It has been a long and hard road for several years, but with effort and sacrifice you can get there. All the Manor Team has done an amazing job during the whole weekend and this is a reward they have deserved, from the Directors to the last of the mechanics. We’ve got a common target, we are like a big family. In the race we know that it will be impossible to fight the other cars but we are giving our all to get the best possible results. At a technical level, today I did feel a bit more confident on the track, both with the car and the circuit itself. I know that it’s a matter of kilometers to reach the level I know I can offer.”