Sergio Perez has been demoted to 22nd on the grid for tomorrow’s Australian Grand Prix after the gearbox that failed on him in qualifying has had to be changed. The Mexican was unable to set a time in Q2 because of the fault and rued the failure to build on some promising pace.
”We made some set-up changes to the car today and in Q1 I was busy adapting my driving style a bit”, he added. “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. I will do my best to get a good result on Sunday.”
Teammate Kamui Kobayashi who was also left disappointed on Saturday afternoon. The Japanese driver was quickest in Q1 but struggled for grip on his second set of soft tyres, leaving him lower on the grid than he felt he should've been.
“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. 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.”
Team Principal Peter Sauber took some solace from the pace of the C31 and believes it has the potential to score points in the race.
“After a very promising start to qualifying, the result is obviously a big disappointment. 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, although overtaking is not easy here.”