Sergio Perez has expressed his 'surprise' after qualifying eighth for the 2012 F1 Indian Grand Prix.
The Mexican had been well down the order in final practice this morning, and only 13th quickest, but a 'perfect' late lap in Q2 allowed him to progress to the final session, and in the end he managed the eighth best time in the top-ten shootout, just over a tenth off Kimi Raikkonen's Lotus.
Speaking after the session though, the Sauber pilot conceded it hadn't been easy: "Today's result is a nice surprise, but it was hard work to get there," he confirmed.
"I am personally, though, very happy with P8 and I am really pleased for the team. It was a great effort from the guys to improve the car after Friday when we were struggling so much. In Q2 I think I managed to get in a perfect lap. The one in Q3 wasn't that good but still okay.
“I am very motivated for tomorrow's race and now want to score as many points as possible.”
Team-mate Kamui Kobayashi
meanwhile didn't do so well with a technical issue robbing him of the chance to get out of Q2: “It is a shame I ended up 17th in qualifying. Actually the pace of the car is better now than it was before, but in the end in Q2 it all went wrong,” he explained.
“I had decided to take fuel for only one lap and then we made a mistake with the car's settings, which caused the brake balance to be completely wrong. I then didn't have a second chance because of the fuel. So I did my best time on a used set of soft tyres instead of making use of the fresh ones at the end. However, tomorrow we have to make the most out of the tyres we still have available and the fact this circuit allows for overtaking.”
“After a difficult start to the weekend, which was mainly dominated by finding the right tyre management, the team and the drivers were able to improve the performance significantly in qualifying,” summarised team boss, Monisha Kaltenborn.
“Eighth for Sergio is a very good result under these circumstances. Unfortunately Kamui was not able to benefit from the improvement due to a technical issue which was clearly not his mistake.”
“First of all Sergio did a good job in qualifying. Eighth was the maximum possible today,” Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Sauber's head of track engineering chipped in. “With Kamui we had a unique issue. Because of a momentary shut down of the telemetry he went into corner one with the wrong KERS recovery setting, which leads to a wrong brake balance and that is why he had to abort his final attempt in Q3.”