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Perez: Post-Bahrain chat kept team together
10 May 2013
Sergio Perez has admitted that sitting down and discussing the wheel-banging antics of the Bahrain Grand Prix was an important move for the McLaren team.
The Mexican and team-mate Jenson Button sat down immediately after the race to discuss their differences after getting involved in an aggressive battle for fifth place that could have resulted in one or both being eliminated.
“Jenson and myself talked firstly to apologise to the team because we were quite aggressive, we were close to having an accident,” Perez admitted ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona, “The chat was mainly to clear the air, to say everything that we thought between us and to clear the relationship because, at the moment especially, we need to be together to come out of the position that we are in where we are not quick enough.
“We have to keep working very closely, Jenson and myself, and I think the chat that we had with Sam [Michael] and Martin [Whitmarsh] helped to keep the relationship strong and keep the team together and get out of the difficult moment. The chat was mainly for that.”
Despite confirming that he had probably been 'over the top' in his efforts to wrest position from Button, Perez said that he would not have any second thoughts about fighting with the Briton should the same situation arise in future races.
“[I would do] the same, but risk less,” he noted, “We were far too aggressive with each other, we lost time and I think that has to be a little bit different between us. [You can't] waste too much tyre, especially as this stage of the season where the tyre is so critical. We are wasting too much tyre if we fight that hard, so I think we have to be more flexible in the fight.
“We are thankful that we are in a team like McLaren which lets you fight as team-mates so, in that respect, we have to respect each other a bit more.”
Despite being rebuffed by Button during their battle, Perez went on to gain McLaren's best result in Bahrain, crossing the line in sixth place while his team-mate made a late stop for extra tyres that dropped him to the tail of the points. While not the sort of result that either he or the tam would have been hoping for, Perez was realistic enough to be happy with what he had achieved.
“Considering where we started from, I think it was pretty much the maximum we could get,” he pointed out, having missed the cut for Q3 on Saturday, “We came very close at the end, [fighting] with Lewis [Hamilton] for fifth place. We did a good strategy, good race pace – better than expected – so it was definitely a very positive race, especially after all the tough start to the season we had.”