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Pérez: 2011 was my last chance for F1

Sauber new boy Sergio Pérez has reflected that had he not joined the grand prix grid in 2011, then he would likely never have done so - but he is adamant he did not buy his seat in F1
Sauber rookie Sergio Pérez has conceded that had he not been given the opportunity to join the top flight in 2011, then his chance would likely have 'slipped away' – but just over two months from his grand prix debut in the Bahrain curtain-raiser, he insists it is an opportunity that he has fully earned.

Pérez will join 2010 rookie of the year Kamui Kobayashi in one of the most inexperienced but arguably also most exciting driver line-ups in the field for the forthcoming campaign – and the former British F3 Series front-runner has acknowledged that a mid-season push to raise his game last year was pivotal to his success in clinching the available Sauber cockpit.

Explaining that a third consecutive year in the feeder GP2 Series 'would have made it difficult' to subsequently graduate to F1, the under-pressure Pérez went on to produce an impressive spurt from Silverstone onwards, tallying four victories from the final eleven outings to conclude proceedings as runner-up to new Williams recruit Pastor Maldonado in the title standings.

“Halfway through [the year], the negotiations with the F1 teams began,” the young Mexican told Spanish website motor21.com. “I was fourth or fifth [in GP2], and at this time [Telmex CEO and Pérez's backer] Carlos Slim was clear with me. He told me that if I was not in the fight for the championship, then I would not be in the minds of the teams and my chance was going to slip away. I think this was my last chance to enter F1.”

Pérez went for a seat-fitting at Hinwil for next year's Ferrari-powered Sauber C30 just prior to Christmas, and he has been quick to dismiss suggestions that he secured the drive more by dint of the financial sponsorship he is able to bring to the Swiss outfit than his talent behind the wheel.

“F1 is a world of big money,” the 20-year-old mused. “We have noticed that there was a lot of interest with the business opportunities in Mexico, and for sure it didn't hurt me – but I have proved that I am a good driver. Nobody has given me anything.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sergio Perez - Barwa Addax
Sergio Perez - Telmex Arden International [pic credit: GP2 Media]
Sergio Perez (MEX) BMW Sauber
Sergio Perez (MEX), BMW Sauber F1 Team
Saturday Practice, Jules Bianchi (FRA), ART Grand Prix, GP£ driver and Sergio Perez (MEX), Barwa Addax Team, GP2 driver
Sergio Perez (MEX), BMW Sauber F1 Team
Sergio Perez (MEX), BMW Sauber F1 Team
Sergio Perez [Pic credit: Sauber]
Thursday, Sergio Perez (MEX), GP2 driver
26.03.2017 - Race, Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) Sauber C36 and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
26.03.2017 - Race, Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) Sauber C36 and Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40
26.03.2017 - Race, Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) Sauber C36
26.03.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010 and Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12
26.03.2017 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
26.03.2017 - Race, Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) Sauber C36
26.03.2017 - Race, Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
26.03.2017 - Race, Lance Stroll (CDN) Williams FW40 and Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C36
26.03.2017 - Race, Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) Sauber C36

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