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.