Perez won’t let ‘desperation’ creep into driving
13 March 2013
Romain Grosjean has admitted that his erratic 2012 campaign was driven by it, and Pastor Maldonado has frequently exhibited it in his mercurial career, but Sergio Perez insists that he will not let his desperation to win in F1 affect his performance on track.
The Mexican makes his McLaren at this weekend's 2013 season-opener in Australia, and admits that he is 'desperate' to join the ranks of F1 winners, but maintains that that yearning will not manifest itself in his driving.
Perez's move to Woking was made possible by Lewis Hamilton's decision to quit the team that 'made' him, but his performances for Sauber took an alarming turn almost from the moment that he put pen to paper, with a series of mistakes resulting in no addition to his points tally through the end-of-season 'flyaways'.
While topping the podium would make Perez the first of his countrymen to win in the top flight since the late Pedro Rodriguez triumphed in the 1970 Belgian Grand Prix, he has not eased the expectation by prefacing his move with claims that he is looking to take this year's world title, not just races
"As an F1 driver, you dream to win your first race,” he admitted to the British media during the build-up to Melbourne, “It's something you have dreamed of all your life and I have no idea what it feels like. I have to be honest, I am desperate for winning - but I will just drive normally, not desperately to get my win. I need to be consistent, I need to score points and I know the win will come at some point."
Perez has proven his front-running ability throughout his climb up the single-seater ladder, notably in F3 and GP2, the latter while challenging Maldonado for the 2010 title. While the Venezuelan broke his F1 duck with a surprise success in Spain last season, Perez has had to be content with some equally unexpected top three appearances for Sauber, including trips to the podium in Malaysia, Canada and Italy last year.
Despite having big shoes to fill as he slips into Hamilton's role alongside 2009 world champion Jenson Button, the Mexican – whom McLaren snatched from under the nose of Ferrari – insists that he can put his late-season slump behind him.
"My target is to beat Jenson and to beat all the others [and], so far, it has gone better than I expected," he maintained, "My adaptation to the team has been very good. We have done an incredible amount of work, we have done a lot of mileage and got a lot of information, so there has been a lot of communication with my engineers, which will help a lot.
"The most important thing for us at the moment is to bring the team up and, during the season, to have a strong car. The target is to be consistent, no matter where we start in Australia, or where we end up. The most important thing it to be at a very good level [and], obviously, we will see [where we are] when we start racing, but I think we have done a good job so far."