Sergio Perez was delighted to qualify on the top ten for the Malaysian Grand Prix after a troubled weekend so far. The Sauber driver struggled to find a balance with his car in free practice, particularly on a single lap and he was pleasantly surprised with his qualifying position.
“I am very happy we made it into Q3. Considering all the balance problems we had yesterday that we could not fully explain, it was a great achievement today for the team. Also I think our car is still better in race conditions than in qualifying form, so we should have good potential for tomorrow's race. For some reason it is difficult to find proper grip with the medium compound tyres, but the changes we made after free practice helped a bit. It will be a tough race tomorrow for the car, the tyres and the drivers. I will fight and bring home as many points as possible.”
With Kimi Raikkonen incurring a five place penalty, Perez will start ninth but Kamui Kobayashi will have to come through from 17th after a poor lap on option tyres. The Japanese driver complained of a lack of grip on the medium compound which prevented him from matching his teammate.
“There was no particular problem on my final lap in Q2 such as traffic or mistakes, but I could not feel the grip with the medium tyre compound. We were struggling a lot with the car's balance yesterday, but in the third free practice this morning it was better. But the changes we then made for qualifying apparently went in the wrong direction. Looking forward to the race, I can say that the circuit itself isn't bad for overtaking but I'm not sure we will have enough straight line speed.”
Team Principal Peter Sauber was mystified when asked about Kobayashi's lack of pace but was quick to praise Perez for his performance.
“It's great for Sergio to be in the top ten. It's our goal to have at least one car in Q3, and looking at our competitors I know this is very ambitious. Kamui was strong in the first three sessions but then couldn't benefit from that in qualifying. We have to find out why. The race will be very tough, so there are a lot of unknowns.”