Sergio Perez admitted it was his own mistake that cost him a shot of making it through to the top ten shootout in front of his home fans, with the Mexican set to start the race from twelfth on the grid at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez on Sunday.
The Sahara Force India F1 Team racer had gambled initially on getting through into the final segment of qualifying using the Soft Pirelli tyre, but like team-mate Nico Hülkenberg, was forced to return to the track on the Supersoft compound, but a mistake at turn one on his flying lap prevented him from advancing.
Perez feels he can move forward on race day providing the strategy calls are right, and feels the race pace of his VJM09 shows signs of being competitive as he pushes for a points finish.
“It’s a shame to miss out on Q3 today, but I’m optimistic we can recover some positions in the race with a strong strategy,” said Perez. “In Q2 we went out on the soft tyres to see if we could progress to Q3, but for my second run we switched to the Supersoft tyres.
“Unfortunately I made a small mistake on my final lap, which ended my chance of qualifying inside the top ten. I just locked up the front tyres going into turn one and ran wide. I apologise for the mistake, but I hope I can give all my fans some happiness in the race tomorrow.
“The good news is that we made some progress with the car in between final practice and qualifying: our race pace looks competitive and I think we can come away with a good result tomorrow.”