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Slick gamble fails Perez in Q2

17 March 2013

Sergio Perez was the big name casualty of the delayed second qualifying session at the Australian Grand Prix after a gamble on slick tyres backfired.

The Mexican was the first to try the supersoft Pirelli compound on a damp but drying track, and even fitted a second set after flat-spotting his right-front, but the decision was not the right one and he floundered to 15th overall.

McLaren has been expected to struggle in the battle to make Q3, but team-mate Jenson Button – a three-time winner at Albert Park – quickly ditched his slicks for another set of intermediates and made the cut with a late run to P4.

Perez was joined in missing the cut by Nico Hulkenberg, who was relegated by Button's final effort and just missed the chequered flag to get a chance at a reply, Adrian Sutil, Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas. Vergne and Bottas also gambled on slicks as times tumbled, but both were caught out by the lack of grip on the far side of the circuit.

In what was something of a lottery at the top of the timesheets, Mercedes' Nico Rosberg again emerged fastest of all, the German having said overnight that he'd be happy for it to keep raining. Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton both posted late laps to complete the top three, while Button, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Paul di Resta, Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean all made it through to the pole position shoot-out.


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