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Sergio Perez

Perez relieved to survive 'intense' China qualifying

Sergio Perez qualified on the front row of the grid for the Chinese Grand Prix - however his day almost ended after the opening segment.

Perez China
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Sergio Perez has reflected on a “very intense” opening segment to qualifying that almost saw him drop out in the Q1 elimination zone.

Perez was forced to abort his first lap after feeling he was held up by the Williams of Alex Albon at the opening corner.

His second attempt was enough to see him through to the Q2 session - but only by less than half a tenth as he struggled to produce competitive pace on his used set of tyres.

The Red Bull driver was almost the second shock elimination from the session as Lewis Hamilton dropped out at the first hurdle.

“It was very intense,” Perez said. “I nearly got knocked out in Q1. I had traffic with one of the Williams, I had to abort my lap.

“[I] came back [out] on hot used tyres and I just made it through in P15.

“It was just a very messy start to qualifying. Then Q2 was a little bit more straightforward. I could really get a read into the balance and we were making some nice progress through the session.

“Unfortunately there in the end it was just not enough to get Max but overall it's a tremendous result because the track has changed a lot.”

Race day hope

Perez will be hoping to continue his strong start to the campaign on Sunday after bagging three second-place finishes in the opening four rounds.

The 34-year-old expressed confidence his car will suit the race conditions as he looks to fight for his first grand prix win in almost one year.

“We changed the car as well to adapt to the conditions so hopefully that will also pay out [in the race].

“I think it's everything to play. We can be fighting from there and we can definitely have a strong rhythm.

We showed today [in the sprint] that we have a fairly good pace in the long run. So I look forward to [the race].”

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