McLaren's Sergio Perez starred in Q2 by setting the fifth fastest time, but a mistake on his Q3 lap - and yellow flags for Lewis Hamilton's stricken Mercedes - cost him the chance to replicate that form in the final ten minutes of qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Mexican had to settle for ninth on the grid but he has shown that his improved form in India has carried forward to this weekend and is confident of another strong race at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Speaking to the media, including, a clearly disappointed Perez felt that this was an opportunity gone missing for him to battle for a stronger starting position.

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"We had a great chance today and I feel a bit disappointed not to get the maximum from my lap in Q3," he said. "I lost a couple of tenths in the first sector, but I also had the yellow flag which cost me some more. My Q2 lap would have qualified me seventh, which I think was possible, and we were only a couple of hundreds from P7.

"It's a bit disappointing because the car is performing better and qualifying was as straight forward as we hoped it would be, but I'm confident that tomorrow we can be high up in the points."

With the Mexican's future having been under discussion recently, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, offered a strong indication that the issue will be resolved in the near future, with Perez remaining alongside Jenson Button for a second season.

"Sergio did a great race last week and it's the kind of thing that we love to see," he said. "Both our drivers want to beat each other and we want the competition. It's a strategy that can cause tension, but we've got two honest guys who want to beat each. I think that they can do that cleanly and I think that the sense of competition stimulates us all.

"The car hasn't been quick enough this year and it's given us the stimulus to compete within the team. I suspect that we'll make the decision about our driver announcement shortly."

by Stephen English at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi