Sergio Perez insists Jenson Button is under-estimated after winning qualy battle
Mexican ends season 10-9 ahead of Jenson in qualifying
By Mike Wise at Interlagos and Pete Gill
Last Updated: 24/11/13 6:54pm
The Mexican, who has lost his seat alongside Button for next season, will leave the Woking outfit boasting a 10-9 qualifying record against the 2009 World Champion after a series of improved Saturday outings in the latter half of his one-and-only campaign with the team.
"I think people really underestimate Jenson and I don't understand why," Perez mused to Sky Sports News. "He is a World Champion, a proven driver and a driver who scored more points over three years than Lewis [Hamilton]. But this is Formula 1, sometimes it is strange, but it is something good to beat him in qualifying."
Perez, who reported that his crash in heavy rain at the end of Q2 "looked bigger than it actually was", will line up 14th for Sunday's race. "I think the conditions at the end of Q2 were quite difficult," he added. "I don't blame that for the crash that I had - I ran wide, I was over-risking to try and find more laptime."
The 23-year-old still retains hopes of landing a race seat for 2014 despite his sudden ousting from McLaren in favour of rookie Kevin Magnussen.
The latest paddock rumour at Interlagos suggests that Force India are preparing to name Nico Hulkenberg and Adrian Sutil as their line-up for next year, leaving Perez's former team Sauber as his most likely route onto the 2014 grid.
Button, meanwhile, bemoaned a lack of tyre temperature as he slipped to a distant 15th as the conditions worsened. "I'm just looking forward to the final lap," he told Sky Sports F1 forlornly afterwards.
Later, he added: "It was working well in dry-ish conditions - the dryer side of the intermediate tyre. But in Q2 when there was more water on the circuit, we just couldn't find our feet really; just sliding all over the place.
"Tomorrow, I think the race will be a little bit dryer - or not as wet - and so I think we have a good opportunity."