Marcus Ericsson hailed Sauber’s “great performance” after recording his best Formula 1 qualifying result in Brazil on Saturday as he looks to “show what the team is missing” ahead of his departure.

In his penultimate F1 race before moving into IndyCar for next year, Ericsson qualified as the leading midfield driver at Interlagos in seventh place, edging out teammate Charles Leclerc in P8.

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Ericsson will rise to sixth on the grid on Sunday as a result of Daniel Ricciardo’s five-place grid penalty, meaning the Swede betters his previous-best starting position of P9 at the 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix by three places.

Sauber opted to replace Ericsson with Ferrari youngster Antonio Giovinazzi for 2019, with Kimi Raikkonen also joining the team after deciding to move in the opposite direction to Leclerc.

Ericsson confirmed following the Mexican Grand Prix he would be racing in the Verizon IndyCar Series full-time in 2019, signing with the Schmidt Peterson Motorsports team.

Asked if it was nice to leave a mark ahead of his F1 exit at the end of the year, Ericsson said: “Yeah definitely. I’m leaving after Abu Dhabi, but I want to leave on a high and I want to show what the team is missing.

“I scored points the last two weekends, now P7 today. I need to keep doing that to really go out on a high, and then I have an exciting thing going for next year as well.”

Ericsson was pleased to outqualify Ferrari-bound teammate Leclerc for only the fourth time this season, but took particular heart from Sauber’s impressive pace.

“It’s not been many times this year [I’ve outqualified Leclerc]. It was great to do that but I think the main thing is that both me and Charles are ahead of the midfield and the best of the rest,” Ericsson said.

“I think that’s a great performance from us drivers, but also the team has done a great job. We know on this track as well, it’s so tight between all of the teams. It was a great performance and I’m really, really happy.

“I’m happy about that one, but let’s see tomorrow. It’ll be interesting with the weather again tomorrow to see what it does.

“We’ll be starting P6, P7 with the Sauber cars. We have a really great opportunity to score some big points for the team."

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