Sergio Perez says he hopes to secure another 'unexpected' result when he returns to Sepang this weekend for the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Mexican racer secured a stunning second place finish in the race last year after a fine drive for Sauber saw him take the challenge to Fernando Alonso in the fight for victory.
On the back of a difficult debut with McLaren in Australia last week, Perez will hope to challenge for his first points finish with his new team in Malaysia and admitted he would love the opportunity to spring another surprise this time around.
“Last weekend's race was a difficult one for everybody on the team, but it's shown us exactly what we need to do to close down the gap to the leaders,” he said. “This weekend in Malaysia will be about trying to maximise the package we have while knowing that it's not going to be enough to allow us to fight for overall victory.
“Still, we know what we have to do – and I know that everybody within the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team will be working incredibly hard to bring performance to the car. That may not happen in Malaysia, as it's so soon after the Australian Grand Prix, but we know it'll start coming soon.
“For me, Sepang holds many happy memories – I had one of the best races of my career there last year where I was able to push Fernando for victory until the closing laps. It's a fantastic circuit, really fast and demanding. It would be great to pull off another unexpected result for the team this year.”
Team boss Martin Whitmarsh agreed that the main aim for Sepang was to understand more about the issues there currently are with the MP4-28, with the short break between the first two races of the year meaning there has been little opportunity to make improvements.
“Clearly, our performance in Australia last weekend was not up to our high expectations – and we have been working tirelessly to bring additional performance to MP4-28,” he said. “But the short turnaround between rounds one and two of the championship means that we'll arrive in Malaysia with less scope to improve our fortunes. This weekend, however, will provide us with additional opportunities to understand our car's behaviour and to increase our understanding of the package.”