The spotlight has been on Sergio Perez ever since he was unveiled as McLaren's choice to replace Lewis Hamilton at the Woking team in 2013. And ever since then, Perez had failed to score any points in the world championship.
He had a chance to break that run in the 2012 F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina, but then got involved in a multi-car tangle that saw him run into the Lotus of Romain Grosjean, who in turn took out the Red Bull of Mark Webber. Race stewards took a dim view of Perez' part in sparking the incident and handed the Mexican a ten-second stop-go penalty.
“We were looking really good in the race, and I had the feeling even a podium would have been possible," he said.
"But then after my pit stop I got stuck behind Romain Grosjean and Paul di Resta, and could not get by them because I didn't have enough straight-line speed," he explained. "I had to risk a lot to get by, but then unfortunately collided with the Lotus and my race was over. It is a real shame because our race pace was very good."
"I don't know what [Perez] was trying to do," was Paul di Resta's view of the incident. "He was trying to make a mad move around the outside and I had to bail out."
Sauber did come away from Abu Dhabi with points in hand, however, after Kamui Kobayashi put together a determined drive to pick up sixth place from 15th place on the grid.
“It was a very tough race and I am really happy I was able to get those eight points for the team," he said. "Unfortunately today I could not use the full performance of the car. There was a problem with downshifting, which meant I could not recharge the KERS properly and didn't have full boost.
"Otherwise my race went well," he continued. "I had a good start, while the team did a great job in terms of timing, strategy and the pit stop."
"Kamui put in a fantastic performance despite his issues," said team principal Monisha Kaltenborn. “I am very happy because these points are extremely valuable for us in the constructors' championship and they allow us to fight for a better position."