Sergio Perez believes that he continues to improve as an F1 driver despite struggling with an uncompetitive McLaren since joining the Woking team for 2013.
The Mexican started in uncertain fashion, missing the points in two of his first three outings for his new team, before becoming increasingly feisty since Bahrain. It was at that race where he banged wheels with team-mate Jenson Button while, two races later, in Monaco, he raised the ire of more than one driver with some forceful moves into the chicane.
Despite that, and the fact that he continues to trail Button in the drivers' standings, Perez insists that he is getting better all the time.
Yes, of course,” he claimed, “The understanding of the car is getting better, [as is] the knowledge with the team. Sometimes people don't realise, when you change teams, how difficult it is to adapt to the different style of the car, different ways of approaching setting up the car. It takes a couple of races – it took me a couple of races – but I think, right now, I'm really in good shape.
“Together with my team, we have done good progress, so I definitely think, from now on, for the rest of the season, we can keep taking the maximum out of the car.”
The Mexican, who made his name with a series of podium finishes for Sauber in 2012 but was still a surprise selection to replace Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton, admits that it has been hard going to each race knowing that McLaren – which won the final race of 2012 – is a long way from being a contender for victory.
“It's been a very difficult season for us, a big struggle,” he conceded, “Since the start of the season, I think we have made some progress, first of all in understanding the car, getting the correlation right. But, to be honest, I don't expect a major difference this weekend to where we were in Silverstone. I think we will be in a similar position, trying to fight to get into the points. And I hope we can score good points here because, in Silverstone, we should have scored.”
Perez, of course, was one of the five drivers to suffer tyre failures during the British Grand Prix, his raceday blow-out coming a day after he was the first to succumb to Pirelli's frailty on Saturday morning. Despite that, he insists that there were still positives to take from the weekend.
“I think the race itself was better than expected - we had better race pace and a good strategy,” he commented, “We were able to do better than expected but then, with the safety cars, it got us in the wrong place and, towards the end, I didn't have good tyres and the people behind were coming a bit quicker. Then I had the explosion with the tyre...”