• Japanese Grand Prix - Qualifying

Perez insists car was capable of even more

ESPN Staff
October 6, 2012 « Car was quick enough for fourth - Raikkonen | Schumacher expecting tough race »
Sergio Perez was outqualified by his team-mate Kamui Kobayashi © Sutton Images
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Sergio Perez says he did not get the maximum out of the Sauber despite qualifying in sixth place for the Japanese Grand Prix.

A grid penalty for Jenson Button will see Perez start from fifth, but his team-mate Kamui Kobayashi outqualified him and will start third on the grid. Perez said that he was pleased with the progress Sauber had made in improving the car and that a podium would be the target but admitted he didn't get everything out of his own qualifying performance.

"We have improved the car quite a lot from yesterday to today, we have made good steps," Perez said. "My lap was not really ideal but anyway we have good potential. I'm confident for tomorrow, I think we should have good pace. Degradation will play a big role in the strategy tomorrow but I think we're in a very good position to fight for a good position and I think the target has to be to go for the podium.

"To be honest the balance was not there, in the whole qualifying I struggled with the pace of the car; it was quite peaky and nervous. But we did very good steps, at some points I was quite a lot off the pace but in Q2 we improved a lot and in Q3 we did another big step. So, happy with the improvements but really not happy because the pace of the car was quicker than we did today so tomorrow we have to take the maximum."

With Sauber lying 35 points behind Mercedes in the constructors' championship and Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher starting 13th and 23rd respectively, Perez acknowledged that it could be a big opportunity for Sauber to capitalise.

"Of course I think it's looking good but tomorrow everything changes and as soon as the green light goes on it is another day and it might be a good day for them tomorrow or a very good one for us. Who knows? This is changing every day so for tomorrow we have to maintain ourselves in a good position, try to do everything and then we will see where we end up."