Perez: Starting on hypers not worth the risk

Date published: October 27 2018

Sergio Perez and the Force India team sacrificed a possible Q3 showing to start on a better tyre compound for the race in Mexico.

With the rule that drivers who make it into Q3 have to start on the tyre they set their quickest Q2 time on, the two Renaults and two Saubers will have to start on the hypersofts.

However, with Force India opting to only run the supersofts and then ultrasofts on their two runs in Q2, they had every option covered.

Esteban Ocon qualified in P11, with Sergio Perez in P13, but the Mexican, who is racing in front of his home face this weekend, said it was worth the sacrifice.

“We had the pace to go into Q3 with the hypersoft tyres, but we didn’t think it was worth the risk to start on those tyres,” Perez said.

“We knew it would be hard to make it into the top 10 on the ultrasofts, but starting on a harder compound should give us an advantage tomorrow – we basically chose a better strategy over grid position.

“My only regret is that Fernando [Alonso] is ahead of me: I lacked a bit of grip in the final part of my Q2 lap and he was able to be ahead of me on hypersofts.

“I am confident about our chances tomorrow. We believe our strategy is the correct one and we can move forward in the race.”

Team-mate Ocon, who is likely to be out of a drive for 2019, has the prime spot to choose tyres, after qualifying in P11.

“We went into qualifying knowing that we really didn’t want to start the race on the hypersoft tyres and that’s why we ran on the harder compound [the ultrasoft] during Q2,” the Frenchman added.

“Being P11 means I can choose my tyres for the start of the race and we have more flexibility with our strategy.

“So I hope our approach to qualifying will pay us back tomorrow.

“We could have been higher up the grid if we had used the hypersofts, but I am happy with the way we approached the session.”

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