Wehrlein happy with first race back in 2017

© XPB 

Sauber's Pascal Wehrlein is delighted to be back in the saddle again after missing the first two Grand Prix races of 2017.

Wehrlein suffered a back injury in an accident while competing in the Race of Champions in January. His fitness routine was disrupted, forcing him to sit out events in Australia and China.

In his first race back at Bahrain, Wehrlein had a solid weekend. Qualifying in a respectable 13th place on Saturday, he went on to finish just outside the points in 11th.

"I am very satisfied with how the weekend went," he said after the race. "It was a tough race, as we decided to only make one pit stop.

"It is obviously a pity that we have missed this point by only one position," he admitted. "The result is the maximum that we could have achieved today."

Wehrlein said his fitness level was already back to more or less where it should be, thanks to the extra weeks off.

"I'm surprised how good it is," Wehrlein told Motorsport.com. "You can see what a big change these two weeks of training have been to me.

"This race was great in terms of performance," he added. "Mentally it was a great weekend. I know what I can do and I know I can be quick.

"I'm really happy to come back like this, it's like I've never been away."

He did however admit that watching from the sidelines for the last two races had been difficult for him.

"I heard some crazy comments from other people about myself, what I should do or what they would do in my situation even though they don't know what my situation was.

"[Melbourne] was just too early. It was eight weeks after three broken vertebrae. I couldn't move for 5 weeks

"The best answer is to show the performance on track and to come back like this," he declared. "I came back like I never had a break."

Even so, the race weekend had taken its toll physically.

"I feel it now. Of course after a long race I have some pain in my back. I'm quite tired as well, but I guess everyone is after the heat.

"Nevertheless, I am already looking forward to the next Grand Prix!"

GALLERY: All the action from the Bahrain Grand Prix

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