Sergio Perez was ahead of Jenson Button
at least once in 2013, as the two drivers drove into the reception area of the McLaren
Technology Centre in Woking. Perez was at the wheel of a bright orange MP4 12C Spider, while Button got to pilot the company's new P1TM prototype.
The two drivers then teamed up to draw back the sheet covering the real star of the Thursday event - the new MP4-28 car that will be McLaren's best hope of clinching the world championship in 2013, in the company's 50th year of F1 competition.
“I'm incredibly proud to be a Vodafone McLaren
Mercedes driver," said Perez, the new boy among the McLaren
line-up after taking over Lewis Hamilton's race seat at the start of the year. "Knowing that I'm driving for the team on it's 50th anniversary – that's such a special feeling.
Perez said that this had been the day he'd been building up to ever since he formally joined the team ahead of the 2013 season.
"For me, this is a great day - in fact, every day this year has been great," he said. "I've been working hard with my new team to get everything ready for the start of the 2013 season, and it's been an incredible journey to get to know this incredible organisation."
But the 23-year-old Mexican fresh in from Sauber knows that the work is just beginning if 2013 is going to be the breakthrough moment in his racing career that he's hoping for.
“Of course, I am fully aware of the steep slope ahead of me: it has already been an intense couple of weeks, getting to grips with a new team, meeting my engineers and mechanics, learning new ways of working," he said.
On top of that is the task that both he and Jenson Button
have to get to grips with the new MP4-28. Although F1 car regulations have not had any major changes since 2012, and the car itself visibly looked very similar to last year's model in appearance, both drivers were insistent that it was a whole different challenge underneath with Button telling the assembled crowd of journalists that it was "completely different to last year."
Perez admitted that it was a steep learning curve ahead of him to get used to the new hardware.
"It's definitely going to be an exciting few weeks: although I've been racing in F1 for the past two seasons, every racing car is different and it always takes a little time to adjust," he said.