It was an emotional session for Perez, who is set for his maiden F1 appearance at home as Mexico returns to the calendar after 23 years.

"I felt very privileged to be driving at home today and to feel so much support from the fans. They have given me lots of energy and I am extremely motivated to give them something to celebrate this weekend – that’s the best way to repay them," said the Mexican.

"I think we did a good job today and we are in a competitive position for the race. We were aiming to be the last car on track during Q3 to try and make the most of the track evolution, but in the end it didn't really make a huge difference. I think eighth was possible, especially when you look at the small gap to Max (Verstappen).

"For tomorrow, expectations will be high, I know that, but it is a very positive pressure and I just need to say focussed, work through my usual routine and treat tomorrow as a normal race. The car is working well, we have done our homework, and I want to move forward in the race," he added.

Team Principal Vijay Mallya was satisfied with his drivers' effort.

"I feel satisfied with our performance today. As we predicted, the grid was very tight with just four tenths separating the fourth-placed car and Nico in tenth. Both Checo and Nico drove very well today and we are well-placed to deliver a strong performance in the race.

"There are some question marks over what the weather will do tomorrow, and given the fresh tarmac that could make for some tricky conditions. Whatever the weather, we have shown recently that we can react quickly and make the right calls when it matters. Once again, I want to pay tribute to the enthusiasm of the crowd and the energy they have given the entire team," said Mallya.

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