Sauber's Perez stuns paddock with one-stop race

By on Monday, March 28, 2011

Mar.28 (GMM) F1 rivals and even Pirelli admitted to being surprised after Sauber rookie Sergio Perez made only one pitstop for new tyres in Melbourne.

Ultimately, the Mexican newcomer had his seventh position taken away by the FIA after irregularities with the C20's rear wing were found by scrutineers.

But his ability to get through the race on a one-stopper following a winter of talk about Pirelli's extreme degradation shocked many in the paddock.

"Not bad for a pay-driver, right?" grinned Sauber's team manager Beat Zehnder, according to Auto Motor und Sport.

Felipe Massa admitted he was surprised.

"The rear tyres degrade quickly and certainly for us to do a one-stop strategy like Perez would have been unthinkable," the Ferrari driver, who stopped three times at Albert Park, told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Also surprised was Paul Hembery, Pirelli's competition boss.

"We were all looking and saying 'He (Perez) has to stop, surely'. We actually thought the numbers were wrong and we had missed a stop," he is quoted by

"His driving style was a key factor, as well as his car. But I would be surprised if we see it again," added the Briton.

Pirelli's former test driver Pedro de la Rosa, speaking to Spanish La Sexta television, agrees: "I can assure you that in Malaysia there will be 3 or 4 stops, just one I see as impossible."

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