Sergio Perez believes that beating Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen to third position on the starting grid for tomorrow’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was one position too far.
Force India’s Mexican driver said after qualifying that he just couldn’t find the 0.134s he needed to get ahead of Raikkonen, and was satisfied with his fourth place.
“I don’t think so,” he admitted when asked if he could’ve beaten the lead Ferrari.
“When you look at it, I did the maximum. My first Q3 was strong, my second not to strong. To beat the first one was difficult, but this was my best qualifying of the year.
“It was a really very good qualifying, not just my last lap, but all the way through I was feeling comfortable with the car and was able to extract the maximum out of it.”
Slower on second Q3 run
Perez said a tyre-pressure issue halted any chance of improving on his second Q3 run – which meant he equalled his best-ever starting position.
“In the end, on my second run, the temperature of the rear tyres got higher, so I had a bit too much understeer on my last lap,” he said.
“It was something to do with the [tyre] pressure, it was a bit higher.
“It was still a strong lap, but I was unable to improve my time as my first lap in Q3 was very strong.
“I think this track suits the car very well, and we had a poor weekend in Sao Paulo but we learned from it. Since yesterday we’ve had a good rhythm from the car, but the long run pace is not that great.
“I have nothing to lose; my championship position is pretty much safe. It will be interesting tomorrow, we have quick cars behind us.
“I’m still confident we can fight with Kimi, and hopefully I can pass him at Turn 1.”