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2017 F1

Virus-hit Perez admits “small” error in Q3

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Force India ace Sergio Perez has revealed that, he has been struggling with a stomach infection over the course of this week and is bracing himself for a “massive challenge” on Sunday.

The Mexican also admits that an error during Q3 final lap may have cost him a healthier starting position on the grid for the Malaysian GP.

“I’m not so good man, I’ve had a virus,” Perez told Autosport after qualifying ninth.

“On Thursday morning I went for a run and I was not at my normal level. I was struggling to keep up with my trainer. I went into my room, took a shower and then was freezing. I had my jacket on, and for the whole day I was really struggling.

“I progressed a lot on Friday but in the car, I struggled to breathe. It really took me down. Today, it definitely hurt me in Q3. There was nothing wrong with the car or tyres, I just couldn’t repeat the lap I did in Q2.

“If I could have improved that I would have been starting P6, but I was struggling for it already in qualifying.”

Looking toward to the race, Perez is preparing himself for a big battle ahead.

He added: “Tomorrow is going to be a massive challenge. Already in qualifying I was struggling a bit. I will try to hydrate myself as best as I can. It is obviously not the place where you want to be sick, so it is going to be quite a race for me.”

Robert Fernley, Deputy Team Principal of Force India

“Sixth and ninth represents an excellent qualifying performance by the team. The car is working well and the drivers were happy with the balance heading into qualifying. Esteban’s Q3 laps were clean and tidy, and he’s well placed to score good points tomorrow.

Sergio hasn’t been feeling well all weekend, so all things considered ninth on the grid represents a tremendous effort. The car continues to improve with each race, which is a credit to the whole team and the hard work that goes in back at base and trackside. Tomorrow is a good opportunity for us to pick up some more important points to strengthen our fourth place in the championship.”

Esteban Ocon, who secure sixth on the starting grid: “I’m very happy with our performance today. The car has been working really well since the start of practice and it’s clear that all the hard work we have done since Singapore has paid off. I think we found further performance today and all the small changes we made to the car really helped make the difference. So it’s a great team effort and we are in good shape for tomorrow.

My laps today were strong – probably some of my best of the season, but there is still room to improve. You never know what can happen in the race, but it’s a good chance to score some big points.”

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