Sergio Perez ended qualifying for the European Grand Prix with mixed emotions after securing his best ever result, only to receive a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change as a result of his final practice crash.
The Force India driver lost the rear of his car at Turn 15 and made heavy contact with the outside barrier, tearing the rear from his car and putting his participation in qualifying in doubt.
However his mechanics were able to get him out in time for the start of Q1 and the Mexican drove brilliantly to go second quickest, but will start the race seventh after serving his penalty.
"That was a special qualifying session," commented Perez. "In Q3 I did one of my best laps in Formula One – maximising every corner and kissing the walls. As a team it’s been a very strong performance.
"At the same time I’m still angry with myself because of what happened at the end of final practice and the grid penalty for the gearbox change.
"I should be starting from the front row of the grid, but I now have to drop back to seventh," he saod.
Perez is now looking forward to Sunday's race where he is hoping to make up a few places, with a podium not out of the question given Force India's pace and the amount of overtaking opportunities the Baku track affords.
"Tonight I need to try and clear my mind, put that frustration behind me, and focus on moving forward in the race.
"I need to say a big ‘thank you’ to my team for the amazing job they did to fix my car in time for qualifying. I hope I can give them a special result to celebrate tomorrow.
"It’s not going to be an easy race because the track is so challenging and it’s easy to make mistakes, but at the same time this can open up opportunities to make up ground. I still have a good feeling about the race."