Sergio Perez secured his first top ten start of the season on Saturday, with the Mexican set to start the Chinese Grand Prix from eighth on the grid.
After struggling in Qualifying in the opening two races in Australia and Bahrain, the Sahara Force India F1 Team driver enjoyed a much better performance around the Shanghai International Circuit, with his final lap in Q2 knocking out his team-mate Esteban Ocon from the top ten shootout, before his single run in Q3 put him eighth, ahead of both Carlos Sainz Jr. and Romain Grosjean.
“I am very pleased with our performance today as a team,” said Perez. “My Q3 lap was very strong and I feel that we really maximised qualifying. The wind was very tricky because it changed completely from yesterday and I knew it could offer us an opportunity.
“Q2 was quite close and I made it through at the last attempt, and in Q3 we only did one flying lap, which was enough for P8. I am pleased we are so close to our rivals and I hope we can stay in that mix and come out on top of the midfield group tomorrow.”
Perez is expecting many drivers to struggle on the Ultrasoft Pirelli tyres in the early stages of the race on Sunday, and it will be up to Force India to make them work better than others.
“The strategy will be interesting because starting on the UltraSoft may not be ideal, but we will try and make it work,” said Perez. “We are feeling positive: we are getting closer and closer with every race, understanding more about our car and unlocking its performance.”