Sergio Pérez praised the efforts of his Sahara Force India F1 Team in qualifying for Formula 1’s German Grand Prix at the Hockenheimring, adding that it “wasn’t easy” to secure a P10 starting slot.
Heavy rain on Saturday morning led to the final practice session being an effective washout owing to the amount of standing water on circuit. Only a few non-representative times were set, with many drivers not even taking to the track.
The track had dried in time for the afternoon’s qualifying session, and Pérez was able to make it through the Q1 and Q2 segments of qualifying to secure a pole position shootout berth.
Using the ultrasoft Pirelli compound tyre, the Mexican driver set a best time of 1m:12.774s, the 10th fastest overall. He will start the race alongside Charles Leclerc on the fifth row, and just ahead of McLaren F1 Team driver, Fernando Alonso.
“I think the team did a really strong job especially considering we lost FP3 to the rain,” said Pérez. “It wasn’t an easy session and I only just made it through to Q2. I had to make every lap count in every session. P10 is a good place to start the race.”
During Friday practice, extreme track temperatures led to many driver’s encountering tyre blistering, especially on their rear tyres, as Hockenheim features a large number of heavy traction zones.
As Pérez got through Q2 on the softest ultrasoft rubber, he will start the race on that compound, and expects that managing the tyres adequately will be the difference between a decent points haul and a finish outside the top 10 altogether.
“The conditions will be much hotter tomorrow,” he remarked. “It will be a completely different game and tyre management will be very important.
“We can certainly aim for points and hopefully beat some of the cars ahead of us.”
Pérez’s team-mate Esteban Ocon has endured a difficult weekend in Germany, having only driven in FP2 before qualifying. The Frenchman sat out FP1 for reserve driver Nicholas Latifi, before the FP3 washout hit.
Ocon could not make it out of Q1, and will line-up sixteenth on the grid.