McLaren Get Hands On Mexican Man

In the past, driver unveilings at the front-running teams have not been short on attention and so it proved to be the same with Sergio Perez in his first days as a McLaren driver. Perez was all smiles and gave strong answers to the kind of questions a sportsman will face when he needs to up his game.

Perez will not only face a change in attitude from his days at the relaxed outsider outfit of Sauber, but will also need a different goal. He acknowledged that both qualifying and the race will not just be about points and that his preparation would be crucial for the first season’s race in Australia.

“At Sauber it helped me because the approach was to always to try and maximise the race potential, not so much the qualifying. Here the target is to be in pole position and win the race.

“Normally the fastest strategy is the one that does more stops and you are pushing all the time. In that respect obviously I will try and help with my style, with my understanding of the tyres, but I think the approach has to be different.

“I want to understand the car quite a lot in terms of set-up for me to be able to have a good communication with my engineers, and it is a very important part for me to build my relationship with my engineers, with my team and get together so when I get to the first test I have as much familiarisation as possible with the whole team,” he said.

“Then when we get to Melbourne I want to be very well prepared so that everything comes automatically, so I don’t have to think of many things.”

He was delighted to get his first podium in F1, but was close to snatching the race win in Malaysia

He was delighted to get his first podium in F1, but was close to snatching the race win in Malaysia

Like his new team-mate Jenson Button, the Mexican gives a cleaner impression than the all-action racer style of the departing Lewis Hamilton. It was this calmness which aided Perez as he finished on the podium three times in 2012, including a missed chance to win in Malaysia. The final few races of the year were to be a disappointment however, as he failed to score a single point in the final six races, something he said he has will benefit from as he seeks to improve as he enters his third season in the sport.

“I have to accept that I made some mistakes, but as well the points didn’t come for many reasons. It was not only with the mistake I made in Japan, but also other races.

“I put the car sometimes where we were not expecting to be, but for some reason or another we did not manage to get the final result. It was not for lack of preparation – because for any team I am driving I will always give 100 per cent, and that is the approach I always have.

“I think I have to take the positives from 2012, and the negatives as well. From the negatives you learn more than you do from the positives.”

The race pace from Perez has usually been unspectacular but steady with his smooth tyre usage being of huge benefit in the past. But it is his qualifying form which needs work if he is to hit the heights he aims at, as his impressive race results were often from starting further back on the grid.

“We have to attack qualifying a lot more and extract the maximum,” he said.

“I think obviously it is something to improve.

“It is not like when you go into a top car you will be in pole position. There is work to do and I am not worried by the qualifying pace, I think I can be up there.

“If I put everything in place I can maximise the potential of the car and that is the most important thing as a driver.”

It will need to be more than podiums if he is to be more than an understudy to Button

It will need to be more than podiums if he is to be more than an understudy to Button

One thing is for definite, he is aiming for a high target in the first year with his new team. Commenting on the camaraderie which Jenson Button possess in the team which the Englishman now leads, Perez was determined that he would not let that intimidate him as he looks to take the fight to the 33 year-old.

“Hopefully we can have a very strong car and fight for the championship. That has to be the target. I think at the moment it looks like Jenson has experience, has the team,’ Perez added. ‘He’s a great champion – the most experienced driver in the paddock now. So I think I have a lot to learn from him. And obviously I want to beat him as well. I will be disappointed if I don’t beat him. I am here to win.’


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