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Sergio Perez Q&A: I'm my own harshest critic 25 May 2011

Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 21 May 2011 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 22 May 2011 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber on the drivers parade.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 22 May 2011 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C30. 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 5, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 21 May 2011 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 6,  Monaco Grand Prix, Preparations, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Having claimed victory in last year’s Monaco GP2 race, Sauber driver Sergio Perez is well versed in what’s needed to win on the narrow streets of Monte Carlo. And just five races into his Formula One career, Perez has already broken his points’ duck. All in all, he can be proud of how his Formula One career is progressing, but the young Mexican is not ready to rest on his rookie laurels just yet. Now he’s made it into the sport, he’s determined to stay here, work hard to iron out his flaws and become a hero in his home country, as he explained exclusively to Formula1.com…

Q: Although you scored your first points at the opening race of the season in Australia, they were taken away from you because of a technical infringement. Last weekend in Spain you finally got back a fraction of the points that you had for just a few hours in Melbourne. How did it feel?
Sergio Perez:
Well, of course in my mind I already had my points in Australia - six points in my debut race. Over the following races I have to say that the pace was there, my speed was there and I was good enough to score points, but for one reason or another I didn’t make it into the points, so it was quite nice to finally make it. I was pretty happy and it was a rewarding moment for me.

Q: Now when you look at the drivers’ standing there’s no longer a zero next to your name. How does that feel?
Of course it was great to get rid of the zero next to my name - there’s no doubt about that. And of course I will be out there at every race to raise the number.

Q: A rookie driver’s first season is crucial. Sauber did quite badly last year. Were you worried that it would be the same this season?
You always have concerns, as a rookie’s reputation is a very fragile one. So I am super satisfied that the team is doing extremely well from where they were last year. But I am also satisfied with the job I’ve done so far. The team has been very supportive of me. Peter (Sauber) and Monisha (Kaltenborn) have invested a lot of time in my ‘upbringing’. Even when the results were not there they were always at my side without putting any pressure on me, so it is very rewarding to finally pay them back with a good result.

Q: Sauber hold P6 in the constructors’ championship - is that a relief?
It is a big relief and it is incredible to see what a huge leap forward the team has made, especially as it is my rookie season and taking into account what we have just been talking about - the fragility of a rookie’s reputation. Of course it is still early in the season and there is still a long way to go, so we have to keep up our performance. But yes, the direction is correct. And we are not stopping there - we are definitely looking for more.

Q: How was the Barcelona race, knowing that you had the chance to grab a fantastic result?
Ah, that was quite late in the race. We had a good strategy and I knew if everything went according to our plan it should deliver a good result. But then with so many pit stops, the chance for something to go wrong is always there. Actually at some point I was in P8, but then Nick (Heidfeld) came along on new tyres and there was nothing I could have done to fend him off at that moment. But overall I am satisfied with how Barcelona went for me.

Q: Where would you rank yourself compared to the other drivers after five races?
Oh, of course I believe I have the talent to be the world champion one day. I think I have everything to get there, as I have confidence in myself. But of course I have to prove it. How does the saying go? Talk is cheap.

Q: Aside from the season opener in Australia where Sauber were stripped of their points, the team have scored at every race…
We always knew that we had the pace to be there. Sometimes I have been unlucky with a crash, sometimes I made a mistake like in China, even though the speed was there. But yes, so far it has been a good season and I am looking forward to doing a good job here in Monaco. It is a very special circuit - one where a driver can probably make a difference more than at any other track.

Q: What does Monaco mean for you? What experiences do you have of racing here? Do you have any personal history with the track?
My most special moment here in Monaco was last year when I won the GP2 race. Winning here is always something special and definitely gives your career a positive boost. So now that I know how to win here, it is not such a big step to dream of winning here one day in Formula One.

Q: So last year’s win will give you a tailwind?
I definitely hope so.

Q: Now, with five races under your belt, how does it feel to be living your dream?
It is a super nice feeling. I’ve worked so hard to get here, so I am enjoying every minute of my life in the F1 paddock. And I will definitely try everything possible to move up the pecking order.

Q: When you say you’re working very hard, what do you mean by that?
I am always analyzing myself - and believe me I am my own harshest critic. I am always looking to improve - in the car and outside of it. From the driving side it is my constant goal to improve communication with my engineers - not only to speak the same technical language, but also becoming able to almost read each other’s minds. And outside of the car I want to improve my communication skills with the global media.

Q: So are you almost a hero in Mexico?
(laughs) It probably takes a bit more to be a hero in Mexico than two points, but I am getting some very nice support from my home country!

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