Perez thrilled with flying start to Formula One career 27 Mar 2011
As the highest-finishing Formula One debutant of Sundays Australian Grand Prix, Saubers Sergio Perez is leaving Melbourne with a big smile on his face. Perez wowed in the quick-looking C30, converting his 13th on the grid into seventh place in the race to take six world championship points and to finish just ahead of his more-experienced team mate Kamui Kobayashi.
I will never forget this race, that is certain, said the Mexican. After we changed from the hard to the soft tyres, I thought at first I had to push. But then I realised I could manage the tyres quite well and we decided to go to the end with them. I am very proud of my team, the strategy worked and it was a nice surprise the tyres lasted so long. I want to thank everybody, especially in Mexico, who helped me to get into Formula One.
Before the race, many had predicted the drivers would have to pit up to four times, but Perez managed to pit just once, completing 35 laps on a single set of the soft Pirelli tyres. Kobayashi, who had to change tyres twice, finished in eighth.
With both their drivers finishing in the points, Sauber are currently fifth in the standings. and team principal Peter Sauber is understandably delighted.
I would call this a dream start to the season, as we could not have expected this, he said. It is also a well-deserved reward for both drivers. Kamuis eighth place was a superb job. I have no explanation for what Sergio did, and how he managed to do 35 laps with a set of used soft tyres setting consistent lap times.
Another rookie to enjoy a strong showing on his debut race was Force Indias Paul di Resta, who took 12th behind team mate Adrian Sutil. Jerome D'Ambrosio also acquitted himself well taking 16th for Virgin, whilst the other debutant, Williams Pastor Maldonado, had his race cut short on Lap Nine after technical issues beset his FW33.
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