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Sergio Perez Q&A: I'm ready for the pressures of McLaren 23 Nov 2012

Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd20 Brazilian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 22 November 2012 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd20 Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 23 November 2012 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd20 Brazilian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 22 November 2012 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C31 locks up.
Formula One World Championship, Rd20 Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 23 November 2012 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd20 Brazilian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 22 November 2012 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd20 Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice, Sao Paulo, Brazil, 23 November 2012

There will be plenty of goodbyes in the paddock this weekend. Lewis Hamilton bids farewell to McLaren, Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher retires and Sergio Perez leaves Sauber. Perez discusses his departure, his poor form at recent races and his hopes about his move to McLaren…

Q: Sergio, you are in the midst of a bit of a drought right now, but would you still say that it’s been a good season for you?
Sergio Perez:
Of course I would say that. I’ve been on the podium three times and I could have been there more times. So yes, it’s been a good season.

Q: Then let’s talk about the last six races. There has been poor reliability, accidents and sometimes the car simply hasn’t been quick enough…
SP:
Yes, we’ve had a bit of every calamity possible! Most of the time we were not able to maximize our potential…

Q: Why?
SP:
In Malaysia I had a fantastic qualifying - I would say my best qualifying ever so far - which secured me P9 on the grid. But the car potential was far from that. The race developed well, but then I had a massive blister that destroyed my tyre so I had to pit which meant no points there. In Japan I made a mistake and in Korea we had an issue with the pit stop. Abu Dhabi saw the contact with Grosjean. It was not my fault so I don’t understand why I got a penalty there. And at the last race in Austin it looked okay but then I ran into problems with the brakes. So there you have it - various calamities which ruined my chances of a better position in the standings.

Q: But people have discussed a possible link between your recent results and the announcement you will soon join McLaren…
SP:
Ha, people always love to draw conclusions from the outside. That is a sport of another kind there. But these two things have absolutely nothing to do with each other. I am a very professional driver and a loyal person, so I am so grateful to the team. I have been motivated to give it my very best since the contract was signed.

Q: What do you make of McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh saying that you still have a lot to learn and that the Sergio Perez who will show up in Melbourne will be a different person from the one that is leaving Brazil?
SP:
Of course I have many things to learn, but that is not specific to me. I would say that it goes for every driver who has only two seasons under his belt. For sure, the needs of a team like McLaren are different, so yes, 2013 will be a challenging year. But that’s what I am here for - to learn to be the best one day. The MP4-27 is a very competitive car, which gives us an excellent outlook for next season. I will be very competitive, so my belief is that we will be fighting for the championship.

Q: You’re joining a much bigger team. Will it feel like the move from GP2 to Formula One racing?
SP:
Sure, it is a big step again. But it is a great opportunity as well. Of course I am aware that with joining McLaren I will be on the radar of many more people and that the oscillation between doing well and being a hero and doing badly and being down and out is wider. But I will get used to that. I have had a taste of it already this season. When I was on the podium I was a superstar and when I did badly they rubbed salt into the wound. My task will be to connect well with the team over the winter and then go to Melbourne perfectly prepared.

Q: Mercedes also haven’t done well over the last five races. Do you think that you can still catch them in the standings this weekend?
SP:
Definitely. Anything can happen. My guess is that with a ‘normal’ race it will be very difficult. But there is rain in the forecast so anything can happen and the times we did today, when the heat didn’t suit us well, will be nothing more than a faint memory on Sunday.

Q: So what will make the difference on Sunday?
SP:
The tyre choice. Pirelli have made very conservative tyre choices at the last few races, so we are a bit concerned about that as there is not a significant difference between the two compounds. But a good job should be possible if we find some good changes in the set-up. Who knows if it will be enough in the end?

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