Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
A rough start to his McLaren career has not slowed autograph requests for Sergio Perez.
A rough start to his McLaren career has not slowed autograph requests for Sergio Perez.

Tough going so far for Sergio Perez in first three races for McLaren

As criticism starts to mount the Mexican driver is not letting anything bother him and concentrating on getting better results, writes Gary Meenaghan.

SAKHIR // For Sergio Perez, the heat has been on him in more ways than one this week.

The Mexican opted to wash away the disappointment of the Chinese Grand Prix by paddle-boarding in the Arabian Gulf, but despite preparing to take part in only his fourth race for McLaren-Mercedes this Sunday in Bahrain, he knows the knives are out as criticism is intensifying.

The 23 year old completed a surprise move from Sauber after only two seasons in the sport during the winter break.

After an 11th-place finish in his McLaren debut in Melbourne and a ninth-place result in Malaysia a week later, he struggled in Shanghai. Not only was he caught up in a trio of contentious incidents, which drew the wrath of his peers, he was also told by Martin Whitmarsh, the McLaren team principal, to "toughen up", "be robust" and "use his elbows".

It has been, by all accounts, not the kind of start to the season he had hoped for at his new team - a marque that attracts substantially more attention than his previous - yet the flak has still surprised him.

"At McLaren, everyone is watching your performance - in every single practice session, every single race," he said Thursday.

"I find it quite amazing that after three weekends, when I had two good weekends in terms of maximising the car potential, that after one bad weekend, I received so much criticism.

"But I think this is quite normal and usual for a team like McLaren."

Part of the problem is, of course, that his teammate, 2009 world champion Jenson Button, has managed his races with far more aplomb.

McLaren may have provided a dud racing car, but Button has extracted the best from it, out-qualifying Perez at all three race weekends, finishing in the points in Australia and managing a remarkable fifth place in China.

Button was heard over his team radio last weekend asking whether to fight Lewis Hamilton or conserve his tyre performance.

Perez conceded he is still struggling to sufficiently make such judgements.

"It is difficult to know when you can be aggressive and when not," he said.

"When you are in a different strategy and mainly looking after the tyres, the worst thing you can do is fight someone next to you who is on a different strategy - two or three seconds faster than you.

"You are not fighting that guy, you are fighting someone who is behind you. It is a difficult balance to judge."




twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE and @GMeenaghan

Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Yuvraj Singh, left, and Virat Kohli of Royal Challengers Bangalore celebrating after they won their IPL match against Delhi Daredevils at Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah. Pawan Singh / The National

In pictures: IPL 7 action at Sharjah Cricket Stadium

Royal Challengers Bangalore’s power-hitters laid down a marker at the first opportunity in IPL 2014 as they cruised past a hapless Delhi Daredevils with eight wickets, 20 deliveries, and about three more gears to spare in front of a packed house at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday, April 17, 2014.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.

 Chris Burch will play fly-half as part of a new-look back line for the UAE national rugby union team that will face Singapore at The Sevens grounds in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National

Chris Burch to lead UAE’s charge against Singapore

he UAE’s bid to safeguard their place in the second tier of Asian rugby against Singapore next week will be piloted by a player who was contemplating retirement from the sport at this time last year.

 Opening performance during Day 3 of the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the First Gulf Bank Arena at Zayed Sport City in Abu Dhabi. Mona Al-Marzooqi/ The National

In pictures: Day 3 of the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship

All the action from Day 3 of the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship at the First Gulf Bank Arena at Zayed Sport City in Abu Dhabi.

 Atletico Madrid's Cristian Rodriguez, second left, celebrates his goal with team mates, and coach Diego Simeone, third right. Atletico are on the cusp of a Primer Liga title. AP Photo/Andres Kudacki

Atletico Madrid look to edge towards Primera Liga title before Chelsea visit

Diego Simeone's men need to win just four of their five remaining games to seal the Primera Liga championship and they take on Elche before the first leg of their Uefa Champions League semi-final against Chelsea on Tuesday.

 Jorginho accepts the challenge that lies ahead for Al Wasl's improvement, and the club says it will give him time ... if they see results.  Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Wasl will give Jorginho time but results in Arabian Gulf League are needed

Al Wasl officials said they will provide Jorginho, their new coach, sufficient time to change the club’s fortunes while also warning that his fate ultimately will depend on results.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National