Sergio Perez believes ninth on the grid for the Indian Grand Prix was the best result possible. He was one of four drivers – including McLaren team-mate Jenson Button – who used the medium compound tyre during the final qualifying session.
However, it was a positive result for the team overall with both cars making it through to the top 10 shoot-out. The Mexican driver is confident with his long run pace and is expecting a strong race.
“Ninth was probably the best we could have achieved this afternoon,” he admitted. “It was always going to be difficult to beat Fernando [Alonso], but I might have been able to achieve it if I’d done one more lap on the Prime. But we need to look after the tyres for tomorrow, so that wouldn’t have been the right thing to do.”
He is interested to see how the differing strategies will play out during the 60 lap race: “Clearly, we’re on a different strategy to most of the other cars, so it’ll be very interesting to see what we can do on the Prime tomorrow. There are four other cars inside the top 10 starting on the Prime, so we’ll be looking to take the advantage if the Option-runners pit during the early laps tomorrow. I think we have a good chance in the race. Our long-run pace looks pretty strong – so, with a good strategy, I think we can do well tomorrow.”
Team-mate Button was the slowest of the runners in Q3 after struggling with tyre temperature on the prime Pirelli compound. However he doesn’t regret the decision to run the medium tyre in the final session, saying: “Running the Prime in Q3 was probably the best strategy call for the race. Of course, that hurt, because my heart was telling me that I ought to be out there [in Q3] on the Option.”
He added: “Our qualifying runs on the Option looked really good – I was quickest in Q1 – but the Prime tyre didn’t work as well for us. I found it more difficult because I couldn’t get any temperature into the tyre, so I was about half a second off in the first sector on my run in Q3.
“Still, running the Prime was probably the right thing to do, and I’m sure it’s the best tyre for tomorrow. I’m looking forward to an exciting, eventful and unpredictable race.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic