Sergio Perez insists that there are no inflated expectations within the Sauber camp ahead of this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, despite having finished second to Fernando Alonso
The Mexican was the toast of F1 following his Sepang performance, which many believe could have yielded Sauber's first win as a privateer had it not been for a late slip in wet-dry conditions, but admits that, while the result may have been good for both his reputation and possible support from his homeland, it has not raised anticipation within the team as the season moves on to the Shanghai International Circuit.
"I think we are really realistic as a team," he pointed out, "We know that the Malaysian race was not a normal race, [as] the conditions were extremely difficult for everybody. We got them right, we stopped at the right time more or less, and we were able to fight for victory, but I think, in normal conditions, this is not where we belong.
"We have to be very realistic and our target is still to score as many points as possible. If we can score another podium during the year, it will be great, but we are very realistic that it can really only happen in different conditions."
Even before he joined Alonso on the podium, Perez was being touted as a possible team-mate for the Spaniard should present incumbent Felipe Massa
be removed from the second Ferrari
- either before or after the end of the season. The Mexican is a member of the Ferrari
young driver academy, along with the likes of reserve driver Jules Bianchi, but insists that there has been no noticeable upping of the pressure to perform.
"[The reaction in Mexico has] been really great - the people there were going crazy, [and] it was a great result for my country," he admitted, "It was 40 years since the last podium we had in F1, so it was really nice to feel all the support I'm getting from the fans, from the country.
"Already, the interest has come up, not only from Mexico, but from other companies around the world that can help us to develop our car, which is important for us. In terms of pressure, though, I think the pressure remains the same, giving 100 per cent every race weekend, trying to have success, and just try to the best - that will be the target for the next 18 races."
Part of Perez's success has been put down to his ability to 'manage' the Pirelli tyres but, despite evidence to back that up, the youngster does not put too much store in one aspect of his approach to F1.
"I can play the tyres, but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't work," he insisted, "I always try to adapt myself to the different conditions that you have in F1, which is even more difficult, to be adapting to every single condition. You have different conditions in free practice than in qualifying and it's very important to be able to adapt yourself to any condition.
"Of course, there is a big potential there and, with experience, it will get better because, when I came to F1, it was (necessary) to keep changing your style. People always ask me 'what's your style?' but I think, in F1, you don't have one – you are always changing your style and trying to adapt yourself to any condition."