McLaren: We’re fully behind Checo as long as he keeps developing

Sergio Perez in Monaco

Sergio Perez in Monaco

McLaren say they are ‘fully behind’ Sergio Perez even if the Mexican’s aggressive driving style has angered some of his Formula One rivals this season.

Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen, an ex-McLaren driver himself, called Perez an “idiot”, and suggested that the youngster needed a punch in the face after a collision between the two at last month’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Perez’s team mate Jenson Button spoke of dangerous and ‘dirty’ driving that the 2009 world champion said could have ended the race for both of them after they banged wheels at the Bahrain Grand Prix in April.

Sergio Perez in Monaco

Sergio Perez in Monaco

McLaren sporting director Sam Michael told reporters on Wednesday, however, that the team is happy with the 23-year-old’s behaviour.
“Ultimately he’s a racing driver and he’s just racing. The moves that he did [in Monaco] are all moves that have been done by all of those other drivers at some point in their careers,” said the Australian.

“It was obviously hard racing, but that’s what F1 is meant to be about.

“He’s a talented driver and the way that he’s racing at the moment, McLaren supports what he’s doing,” continued Michael. “We’re fully behind Checo as long as he keeps developing.”

Spanish Grand Prix - Friday

Sergio Perez in the McLaren pit garage

Michael said that Perez had gone through a transition in recent races, showed good technical insight and knew what he wanted from his engineers.

Perez will be starting his seventh race for McLaren in Canada this weekend after moving from Sauber at the end of last year as replacement for departed 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton, who is now with Mercedes.

The Mexican has scored points three times this season, with sixth place in Bahrain his best so far for a team struggling to improve their car.

“Jenson is a world champion and a hard guy to match and Sergio is doing pretty well against him,” said Michael.

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  • Haters hate to read this

    Haters hate to read this a pay driver is kicking cry world champs ass with a slow car

  • Not Bernie

    I’ve nothing against Perez; nothing. But what I’ve not seen from him is raw speed. I don’t think Button is as good without Hamilton there; he’s stepped off the gas slightly. And that again isn’t good for Perez, although Button is trying to establish No. 1 status in McLaren.

    The first two overtakes by Perez on Button and Alonso in Monaco were superb. But the one on Kimi was too late and in a space which was closing. That was the problem.

    So I’m still undecided on Perez. Can he be a race winner? Is he developing fast enough? After all, he’s not new to F1.

  • hillside

    what mclaren really meant is, as long as Checo has his sponsorship money comin in he still have his seat secured.

  • Joe Kinnear

    Of course McLaren would defend their driver. But Sergio needs to know when he should back off and when it is safe. For instance Monaco.. his pass on JB and Fernando were great, but when he tried the same trick on Kimi it didn’t work because he made it too late. Of couse Kimi was angry. That, McLaren has to admit. He SHOULD know when to back off. What do you get when you try too hard? You end up retiring. That’s what happened to him in Monaco. You can be aggressive, but he really has to “calm down”. Other than that, he IS a great driver.

  • AlonsoFan

    Sergio has shown overly-aggressive beahviour in Bahrain..he is trying to compensate for Mclaren’s lack of pace by driving it in a stupid manner..someone should punch him in the face..

  • Gh

    Say what you will, Perez now has a reputation of all or nothing. Yield or be prepared to DNF.

    No other driver has that on the grid and they would all love to. Go Checo.