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Watson: Button needs 'come to terms' with Perez pressure

Former McLaren driver John Watson has told Jenson Button to get used to being challenged by the 'new young pup' in the Woking team.
Jenson Button and Sergio Perez may have cleared the air following their wheel-banging battle at the Bahrain Grand Prix, but F1 veteran John Watson has warned the Briton to get used to being threatened by his upstart team-mate.

The McLaren pair found themselves going head-to-head in the second half of the race in Sakhir, scrapping over fifth place as Perez enjoyed his strongest day as a driver at the Woking squad. At one point, the Mexican ran into the back of his team-mate, caught out by Button's defensive line through turn four, and the pair later banged wheels as he attempted to pass the 2009 world champion.

Button's immediate reaction was to accuse Perez of being 'too aggressive', while the former Sauber stand-out later admitted that he may have been 'a little too hard', but Watson has warned the Briton to 'put up or shut up' as he can't see Perez playing a subservient role should the situation arise again.

"If Perez gives Button a difficult time, it's up to Button to come to terms with it,” the Irishman told BBC Sport, "It's a fact of life. He can't expect Martin Whitmarsh to tell Perez to back off.

"If your kid team-mate is pushing you hard, it's not nice, but it's part of the game. You have to respond by getting in and doing the best job."

While Perez eventually secured his best finish of the season in sixth spot, Button had to make do with tenth after needing a fourth pit-stop to replace worn out tyres, although he still holds the upper hand in the standings, albeit by one place and three points.

Watson fears that the ten-year age gap between the two drivers may have played a part in Button's complaints, suggesting that, at 33, the Briton may have 'gone past all the white knuckle, wheel-to-wheel style of racing'.

"When you've got a kid, or young pup, like Perez up against Button, who is the elder statesman of F1 these days, what frequently happens is that it ends up hurting both of them," the former McLaren driver warned.

"[Perez] is desperate to show what he can do, especially as he has not done an awful lot in the opening three races. Button is very experienced, and the number one driver in that team, even though McLaren say there is no number one and number two. But because he is in that position, he has a target on his back and Perez will think that if he beats him, he'll be in the pound seat at McLaren.

"All a team boss can do is remind them that they are driving for the team, not themselves, so they must not take each other off. They managed not to do that, but not for the want of trying.”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
21.04.2013- Race, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 and Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28
22.03.2013 - free practice 2, Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-28 and Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28
John Watsonn, Former F1 driver and Derek Warrick, BRDC Chairman
21.04.2013- Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28 and Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-28
McLaren, 2011 launch, [Credit: Crash PA]
Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso - Mercedes, McLaren
Ayrton Senna - McLaren. 1993 Donington Park
Lando Norris, McLaren Autosport BRDC Awards [Credit: Martyn Pass PR]
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31 off trach and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12 spins
27.11.2016 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31

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evel ken evil - Unregistered

April 26, 2013 8:59 AM

John Watson is spot on what happened to racing , wasnt too long ago that wheel bashing and aggressive moves were par for the course (Senna ,Prost ,Mansell et al) Bravo to Perez for taking the race to Button when he could , if Button cries off maybe theres a new ride waiting for him down the local Dominoes

bob - Unregistered

April 26, 2013 1:01 PM

Everyone needs to listen to what JB actually says in the interview. He didn't like the wheel banging and getting rammed up the rear, but very much enjoyed the racing. To add to this he also stated that Perez out raced him, was faster than him and beat him outright. He then went on to congratulate Perez on his performance. Yeah, really the talk of a sore loser!

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