Pascal Wehrlein didn’t have the smoothest of races in Monaco. After being dealt a 5 second time penalty for an unsafe release from the pits, he plodded around second to last for the majority of the race, only being moderately disturbed by the returning Jenson Button behind and not making a great deal of progress.
This was until Button got tired looking at his gearbox and took a lunge into Portier. You don’t see overtaking here every day so Wehrlein mightn’t have expected it, but it can be done and with Button so close behind, it would have been sensible to be checking his mirrors which would have been filled with orange McLaren.
As it was, they both aimed for the apex and Button went into the side of Wehrlein, managing to overturn the Sauber onto it’s side, propping it up against the barrier.
The Tecpro barriers are collapsible, but not to the extent that the entered the cockpit, so after some help, he was able to step out of the car. But he had sustained a knock to the head.
In January this year, Wehrlein was involved in a similar incident at the race of champions where the Polaris Slingshot he was driving flipped. He walked away from the incident but was later found to have compression factors to 3 of his thoracic vertebrae, causing him to miss the first two races of the year.
There were fears that the accident in Monaco may have exacerbated this injury and that he may need to miss further rounds of the championship.
He was cleared to leave the circuit by the onsite medics but, having only begun to feel pain in his back later following the original incident, he decided to have a scan of the affected area to ensure no further damage had been done.
Today the scan results confirm that the vertebrae continue to heal normally and that he is fit to continue driving at the next race in Montreal.