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Perez: Second above all expectations

18 Jun 2016

Sergio Perez says his performance in qualifying exceeded all of his and Force India's hopes, after the Mexican ended up as polesitter Nico Rosberg's closest challenger in Formula One racing's first qualifying session in Baku.

Perez said he took even more pride in the result given his confidence-denting crash in FP3, although he admits the consequent gearbox change and penalty - which drops him from second on the grid to seventh - took some of the gloss from the session.

"We expected to be strong here, but not this good," Perez said in the post-race press conference. "Yes definitely [we exceeded expectations].

"I think I have mixed feelings. Obviously I am still a bit angry from the mistake [earlier], but also I am very happy.

"It was a difficult session - obviously after a crash you lose some confidence, so to get back in the rhythm was great. The lap we put together in Q3 was very strong - I'm very pleased with that."

Perez also paid tribute to the efforts of his team, adding: "It feels great - for the whole team, and especially to my boys to put the car together before qualifying.

"The team deserve more than [seventh on the grid], but hopefully we can make good progress and aim for a good position. It's very easy to make a mistake or clip the wall, so we have to look forward and just try to do a strong race."

Second represents Perez's best-ever qualifying position in F1, though with his grid penalty dropping him to seventh, his best grid spot remains fourth, which he has secured on four separate occasions.