Saturday action saw Mexican Perez qualify in P12 with teammate Hulkenberg right behind in P13. However, a gearbox change penalty to McLaren’s Jenson Button, who qualified seventh, will see him fall five places and start 12th on the grid, elevating Perez.
Meanwhile, Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg came out with a blistering lap to take pole position, his ninth of the season, ahead of British teammate Lewis Hamilton, who will start ahead of the Williams of Valtteri Bottas at the 5.5 km Circuit of The Americas.
However, both the Force Indias failed to enter Q3.
“It has been a difficult weekend so far working with the car balance because the windy conditions have impacted on us quite a lot. The wind was always changing direction, making the car quite unpredictable and making it difficult to be consistent. So it was hard to get the perfect lap together,” said Perez.
“I had to use two sets of soft tyres in Q1 just to make sure I got through to Q2, which meant I only had a single set of new soft tyres to use in Q2. Given the conditions, we’ve done a good job but I wish I could have done even better. Hopefully tomorrow we can race well and be in the fight for some points.”