Sergio ‘Checo’ Perez endured a low key, even below par start to his season, but in Bahrain he was the main headline grabber as he went toe-to-toe with experienced McLaren team mate Jenson Button.
Before that Perez was urged by his team boss Martin Whitmarsh to show more aggression and resolve in his on track duels. The young Mexican delieverd as ordered. He spoke in the aftermath of Bahrain and ahead of the forthcoming Spanish Grand Prix
After your strong performance in Bahrain, what are you up to now? Sergio Perez: After the first four flyaways, there’s a bit of a natural break – like it’s time for everyone to reset and start a new season in Europe. It always feels exciting returning to Europe – almost like the start of the season again – but it’s also good that there’s a three-week break between Bahrain and Barcelona. That’s a good time to relax because there’s been a lot of travel for the last 10 weeks. We spend huge amounts of time in airports, so it is nice to finally get some time to myself. I’ll be training throughout the whole time, but I’ll also be seeing friends and family. Hopefully, I can get to watch some football, too! I’ll also be back to the MTC to prepare for the Spanish Grand Prix. We’ve got some routine engineering meetings before the race, and it’ll be good to catch up with the team before we go racing again.
Are you looking forward to the European phase of the season? Perez: Absolutely! It’s something I’m looking forward to because Europe is really the home of Formula 1; tracks like Monaco, Silverstone, Spa and Monza have a lot of history – they have been on the calendar since Formula 1 started in 1950. I think it’s great that we still have those circuits that represent the sport and all its history. We can never lose them.
Are you enjoying racing for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes? Perez: It has been great getting to know the whole team – the experience has been all I thought it would be, and more. Everyone has treated me so well and I feel like I have settled in great. After a tough start to the season, we are all united to get this team back where it belongs at the front of the grid. Hopefully, we have turned the corner now. The MTC is such an amazing place to work. Every time I go in, I’m impressed by what I see – walking along the boulevard, I see all the great cars from history, and it reminds me what it means to be a McLaren driver: to follow in the footsteps of greats like Emerson, Ayrton and Alain Prost. It is an honour. I would just like to take this opportunity to thank all of the team’s loyal fans who give us such great support at all of the races. It really motivates me to do my very best every time I step into the car.
And finally…. why the nickname ‘Checo’? Perez: It’s not really that complicated or interesting. In Mexico, where I come from, all Sergios are automatically given the nickname ‘Checo’. Sorry, there’s no story behind it! (McLaren)