Sergio Perez says he is determined to end his maiden F1 season on a high next weekend in Brazil having admitted his first year in the sport is one he will never forget.
The former F3 and GP2 driver has produced a series of impressive performances with Sauber over the course of the year despite being forced to miss two races following his accident in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix.
Only Paul di Resta has scored more points than Perez amongst the rookie drivers on the grid and he said he was keen to try and end the year on a high in what will be the closest thing to a home race.
“I have heard a lot about Sao Paulo and Interlagos,” he said. “Apparently it is a great race track and the crowd can get very emotional. I expect them to be a bit like my Mexican fellow countrymen, and am looking forward to the atmosphere passion creates.
“It will be the final Grand Prix of my rookie season in Formula One. To me this year feels like three years because so much has happened, including my accident in Monaco. However, I think it was a good season. I learnt a lot and was getting better and better with every race. Considering the fact that I had to miss two races in which the car and the team performed very well, I really think I can be happy with what I have achieved so far. Without doubt I am determined to finish this season, which I will personally never forget, on a high.”
Perez and team-mate Kamui Kobayashi will hope to secure sixth in the constructors' championship for Sauber during the race weekend, with technical director James Key admitting that an improved qualifying performance would be key to a successful end to the year.
“We have already reached the end of the season,” he said. “It's gone very quickly, but equally it's been a lot of hard work for everyone. Obviously we want to extract the most out of the race in view of our championship position, and, of course, we want to score points there.
“With regards to the car, we've gathered some good data from the past two events to help us try to improve our qualifying performance a bit more. In addition, we had some test items that we ran in Abu Dhabi, and we will be focusing again on making the most out of those. Otherwise the plan is to maximise our opportunities and try and make sure we can realise the full potential of the car in the race.”