12 April 2013
F1 China 2013: Tough day for Perez
It wasn't the reassuring first day in Shanghai that Sergio Perez was looking for in his first Chinese GP with his new team McLaren.
If Sergio Perez was looking for a nice calming Friday session to ease into his first 2013 Chinese F1 Grand Prix since moving to McLaren form Sauber, then he certainly didn't get it.
The young Mexican was over a second slower than team mate Jenson Button in FP1 and then ended his morning session in the barriers at pit-lane entry, ironically mimicking his predecessor Lewis Hamilton's famous 2007 race accident, after misjudging his speed while returning after the chequered flag.
He then started the afternoon FP2 session in the same way as he finished the first, planting his MP4-28 in the tyre wall early in his first run.
“Today was a difficult day for me," he admitted. "I had two offs – in the morning, I was running on cold, worn tyres, locked the wheels and just touched the barrier. went into the barrier.
"In FP2, we don't really understand what happened because I wasn't really pushing at the time," he continued. "Still, I'm sure we will improve tomorrow."
While Perez said that the Friday sessions had been important for the team, he admitted that it was a day he would be happy to put behind him and forget, and scratch from scratch tomorrow.
"I'll effectively be starting from zero because I'll adopt a completely new set-up," he said. "That won't make things easier, but I think we've gathered some useful data today and that will ensure we make good progress for the future."
“It's clearly been an incident-filled day for Checo, but it's all useful learning," contributed McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh. "I'm sure he'll quickly put it behind him and focus on having a stronger day tomorrow."
Perez said that the aim now was to get into the final round of qualifying on Saturday and set himself up for a good run in the race itself on Sunday.
“The target for tomorrow is to get into Q3," he said. "For Sunday, the tyres will play a big role; it'll be essential to manage the degradation and plot the perfect strategy, but I know the team is very good in these areas, so I'm optimistic.
“I think we can have a good result on Sunday," he summed up.
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