Date: 10th September 2012 at 9:52am
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If driving the Italian Grand Prix is seen as any kind of job interview for the passionate Tifosi, then Sauber’s Sergio Perez will have passed with flying colours on Sunday.

The Mexican driver might have had a Ferrari engine in his car, but the name on the chassis remains Sauber for at least the remainder of this season for Perez.

But next season, this performance may well have an influence on the decision which would see him switch to the red of Ferrari for 2013.

It was another weekend where the Sauber couldn’t boast the outright performance of other cars out on the track, but a solid run through practice and qualifying would always put the Sauber in a good position come race day.

FP1 placed him 8th, FP2 had him 9th while FP3 showed a marginal improvement with him 7th on the timing sheets.

But that gradual improvement was nowhere to be seen in qualifying and Perez failed to make it through to Q3 having to settle for 13th.

He told formula1.com after qualifying: ?We knew it would be tight to make it into the top ten today, but I was fighting hard. We have improved the car quite a lot since Friday, but we are clearly not as quick here as we were in Belgium.

He added: ‘The tyre compounds here are quite similar and we don?t expect high degradation, but in the end, given the high temperatures, you never really know. I am very optimistic about scoring good points here in tomorrow?s race.?

The advantage of course to any team not qualifying in the top ten on a Saturday is the option to choose which tyres you want to start the race from.

Any driver qualifying in the top ten has to start the race on the tyres they qualified on, which ultimately forces a drivers hand in terms of race strategy.

They invariably have to start on the softer tyre and after qualifying their life will have lost a few laps as well.

Looking at Perez, he was able to start the race on fresh new tyres and was able to go much deeper into the race on that one set of tyres, opening the window for a one stop strategy.

It was risky, Perez still had to fight his way though the field, including both Ferrari’s for Massa and Alonso, but the it worked.

?This was a very enjoyable race for me. It was one of those where you have the pace and are the one to attack. I am very happy for the team which is working very hard. It is a really good team, I am proud of it. I didn?t have an easy first stint with the hard tyres but it was certainly the right strategy. I was frequently in contact with the team on the radio because I was worried the tyres would suddenly drop and we would have to change our strategy. Also we were not quite sure how quickly they would warm up. However, it worked out fine, I could stay out as long as I needed to for our strategy. The second stint was then really maximum attack and I must say all of the drivers I overtook have been fair. They didn?t leave me more room than they had to, but it was always enough. This is the way it should be. I am very pleased at having achieved my first European podium in Monza.?

Perez’s second, second place of the season places him ninth in the drivers championship on 65 points, ahead of the likes of Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, Mercedes Michael Schumacher, team-mate Kamui Kobayashi and both drivers from Williams and Force India.

The points also boosted Sauber’s constructors tally to treble figures, putting them sixth, 26 points behind Mercedes on 126 points and 37 points clear of Force India.