MANAMA, April 8 (Reuters) - Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson ended the longest points scoring drought on the current Formula One starting grid with ninth place in Bahrain on Sunday.
The Swede had gone 49 races, dating back to the Italian Grand Prix of September 2015 when he also finished ninth, since he last scored a point.
“Congratulations to Marcus for the strong race. He put in a huge effort over the winter to be able to show everyone that he is able to deliver,” said team boss Frederic Vasseur.
“It is a great accomplishment for him.”
Sunday’s points lifted Sauber off the bottom of the standings and up to eighth of 10 teams. Williams are now the only team yet to score this season.
Now in his fifth year in Formula One, Ericsson has scored only 11 points from 78 starts — still less than the number of penalty points (13) he has incurred to date for driving infringements.
The Swede, whose backers are influential within the Swiss team, has been with Sauber since 2015 after a debut season with now-defunct Caterham.
His place for this season remained uncertain until the team finally confirmed last December that he would be staying to partner Monegasque rookie and Formula Two champion Charles Leclerc.
Leclerc, a Ferrari protege, has yet to score in his first two races. (Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar)