Sergio Perez will line up seventh on the grid for tomorrow’s race at the Suzuka International Racing Circuit after being promoted two places due to grid penalties.
Similarly to the Italian Grand Prix in September, a large group of drivers has to take grid penalties, but most notably Kimi Raikkonen, who will now drop behind Perez. Valtteri Bottas has a five-place penalty, but his second quickest time means that he will start sixth and that Perez only gained one place.
Nevertheless, Perez was pleased with the qualifying session, especially as the team had little running time on the track due to a near washout Free Practice Two.
“It’s been a really good qualifying session for us,” commented Perez.
“The team did a great job despite the limited running, splitting the practice programme between both cars to find the best set-up. I believe we maximised the potential of the car and got the best result we could today, so I am happy.”
Perez has been the more consistent qualifier throughout the year in comparison to ‘rookie’ team-mate Esteban Ocon, but it was the Frenchman who had the upper hand today. He moves up to start fifth on the grid, but Perez is still content with where he will start.
“My final lap in Q3 was good: I lost a little bit of time in the final chicane and that cost me a place to Esteban. He’s done a really good job all weekend and together we have delivered an important qualifying result for the team.
We were expecting a bigger fight in the midfield, but I am pleased we were this far ahead of our rivals and close to the Red Bulls. Tomorrow will be a long race but I think we can score a lot of points because our race pace is good.”