Sauber's Sergio Perez has been handed a five-place grid penalty in Australia, after he was forced to make a gearbox change.
The Mexican made it through to Q2, but failed to set a time due to issues with the 'box. He thus qualified 17th, but will drop back to 22nd and last in his Ferrari-powered C31 after the penalty.
”We made some set-up changes to the car today and in Q1 I was busy adapting my driving style a bit,” Perez reflected before
news he would need a new gearbox. “In Q2 I knew exactly what to do but then I could not shift anymore because of a gearbox problem. It is a true shame as there was a lot more to come from the car and from myself.
“Starting from 17th will make it very difficult to get a good result on Sunday. I will do my best,” he added.
Team-mate Kamui Kobayashi meanwhile was quickest in Q1 on a 1m 26.182s, a time that would have put him easily in the top-ten shootout. However he was unable to repeat that kind of lap in Q2 and consequently will start 13th.
“This is obviously disappointing. In Q1 I was really happy with the car and the grip and, of course, it felt great to have set the fastest lap. But then on my second run in Q2 with another new set of soft tyres I just could not find grip. I have no explanation for that, it felt totally different,” he lamented.
“I also had traffic in the last sector, but the main surprise was the lack of grip. Thirteenth is not really a nice position to start from and it doesn't reflect the potential of the car. However, we will try to achieve the best possible result tomorrow.”
“After a very promising start to qualifying, the result is obviously a big disappointment,” summarised team boss, Peter Sauber. “Kamui was quickest in Q1 with a time that would have been seventh best in Q2. Unfortunately things didn't work out for him in Q2 and he was out.
"Sergio suffered a gearbox failure and didn't have the chance to set a time in the second qualifying session.
“The positive thing is we confirmed that our car is fast, which gives us hope for the race...”