Sauber hails 'brilliant' Perez

By on Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sergio Perez and Peter Sauber. Photo credit: Sauber Motorsport AG

Peter Sauber branded Sergio Perez’s performance at the Japanese Grand Prix as 'brilliant' after the Mexican translated a 17-place start into eighth place and four points.

Perez had suffered a hydraulics problem in Q1 on Saturday, which sidelined him from the second segment of the grid shoot-out and left him starting 17th. But a long first race stint on the medium tyre compound vaulted the Mexican up the order and two late bursts on the soft tyre handed Perez his fourth points finish of the season.

“Sergio drove a brilliant race,” said Sauber. “Starting from 17th and finishing eighth says it all. He was aggressive and consistent at the same time. His result also proves that we made a clear step forward with our car, which is important for the upcoming races.”

The rookie’s drive was made all the more impressive by the post-race revelation that he was also ill with ’flu. “I am very happy for the team to have scored some points here in Japan, especially after we had that technical problem yesterday in qualifying,” he said. “But the strategy with the tyres worked out very well for me, and the team did a very good job on this. Also the car’s performance was good. I pushed very hard, and gave my maximum today. Physically it was very hard for me because I am suffering from flu, so I’m totally happy that I brought the car home in a position good enough to score points.”

Unfortunately for Sauber, while Perez enjoyed a great Sunday after an unhappy Saturday, it was the reverse for team-mate Kamui Kobayashi. The Japanese driver had put in a stellar performance to take seventh on the grid on Saturday but the local hero went backwards in the race right from the start.

“At the start when I released the clutch the car suddenly was in anti-stall mode, and that was why I lost five positions straight away,” Kobayashi said. “I tried to fight other cars then but overtaking wasn’t as easy as it was here last year. Then the safety car came out in what was a bad moment for our strategy. I did my second stop when the safety car was out, we changed from the soft to the medium compound and with those tyres I then had to go to the end of the race – 29 laps.

“In the end they were just so bad that I couldn’t defend my position anymore,” he said. “Anyway, I had a good qualifying here and the car’s performance in the race has definitely improved, so we will keep pushing at the remaining races. I am very proud of all the Japanese fans, who are so excited about Formula One. They are a great crowd and for me it was a very emotional day.”

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