F1 2013

Perez ‘had a point to prove’ – Whitmarsh

McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh has defended his junior driver Sergio Perez in the wake of accusations that he drove beyond his limits in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Mexican made contact with team-mate Jenson Button on no less than three occasions during the Grand Prix, causing the Briton to label his rival ‘aggressive’ post-race.

Sergio Perez and Jenson Button battled for much of the race.

Sergio Perez and Jenson Button battled for much of the race.

But Whitmarsh believes the actions of his newest signing are a product of the pressure applied on him to ‘toughen up’ in the wake of last weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix and a trio of lacklustre races since his debut in Australia.

“He [Perez] is young, he has had a bit of pressure, he has something to learn and he had a point to prove.” said Whitmarsh in an interview post-race.

“He was just a guy under pressure who possibly pushed a little bit too hard on some of those issues, but that is human. They are easy guys to manage because they are really good people, and there is a good spirit between all parts of the team. We are racers and each half of the garage wants to beat the other half, but I think it is a good dynamic.”

The duelling McLaren duo came close to disaster when Perez lost a front wing endplate against Button’s right-rear tyre around halfway into the race.

“I have spoken to Jenson now and the thing is he is so mature in his attitude,” explained Whitmarsh.

“That is the good thing about Jenson. He can stand back and be reflective in a way that you cannot when you are hot and sticky after just stepping out of the cockpit. Very quickly he gets to that point where, because he is an intelligent guy, he will know that Sergio is not a bad guy.”

Perez went on to finish 6th and boost his Championship points tally to 10 elevating him to 11th in the standings.

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