Formula 1 2013 driver profile: Sergio Perez

He’s filled Hamilton’s vacant seat at McLaren, but can the speedy Mexican make the step up expected of him?

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Team: McLaren
Nationality: Mexican
Birth date: 26/01/1990

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First F1 race: Australian Grand Prix, 2011
2012 points: 66
2012 best finish: 2
2012 championship position: 10

Just how fast is Sergio Perez? To finish on the podium in a Sauber last year suggests very fast, but outright speed is not the only ingredient needed for a top F1 driver.

The spotlight will be on him this year as he makes the step up to title challengers McLaren. If he can challenge teammate Jenson Button, it will mean we have a real future star in the making.

If he doesn’t maintain his team’s reputation however, they could very quickly start looking elsewhere to fill the hole left by Lewis Hamilton.

He’s come through the ranks quickly, leaving karts at just 14 years old and reaching GP2, the proving ground for future Formula 1 drivers, at 18. Theoretically, his youth should dovetail nicely with Jenson Button’s experience, and that is definitely part of McLaren’s reasons for choosing him over drivers such as Britain’s Paul di Resta.

Perez has been in F1 since 2011 and raised eyebrows with his second place in Malaysia last year, but he followed it up with a third in Canada and another second place finish at Monza.

Mexican oil money may have helped him into the sport, but Perez is clearly much more than a ‘pay driver’, only in the seat because of the sponsorship he brings. The key if he is to fulfil his potential with McLaren is consistency – Button still has plenty to teach him in that regard.

2013 predictions: “Definitely I want to win the championship. When you come to the best team that’s what you have to do.”

Did you know? Perez is good friends with Manchester United striker and fellow Mexican Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez.

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