Mexican driver Sergio Perez says he’s not feeling the pressure ahead of McLaren debut in Australia this weekend as he sets his sights on winning the world championship.
Perez, 23, scored three podiums last season, and just missed out on victory in Malaysia, which prompted McLaren to sign him as a replacement for Lewis Hamilton.
Despite only having two seasons under his belt before stepping into a front-running car, Perez told the latest edition of the JA on F1 podcast that he’s unfazed.
“Every time you come to a big team, you’re going to replace a big name driver,” said Perez. “There will always be pressure but the team and I are very motivated.
“I don’t see myself as replacing Lewis, I see myself coming into a very good team who is fully behind me and fully committed to win.
“I haven’t won a race so far in F1 so I have to be honest, I’m desperate to win one as soon as possible. But my approach is not to be desperate because it is important to be consistent throughout season.
“I am sure the win will come if we are consistent. My goal is not just to win races, it’s to win the championship and to do that we need consistency.”
Perez struggled with consistency last season and after signing for McLaren, he failed to score a point in the final six races of the season.
But the 23-year-old said: “There were many circumstances towards end of season which affected my results. I was performing well and I made a few mistakes – this is something I learned from but it was more other circumstances out of my hands which stopped me getting into the points.
“My qualifying record improved towards the end of the season and I think I have to take what I learnt from last year – which was a lot.”
And the Mexican added that he has learned a lot from racing against the top drivers at the sharp end of the field, such as with Fernando Alonso in the battle for victory in Malaysia.
“It’s much easier to race against those guys,” he said. “They give just enough room for you, you can fight them hard and they will fight you hard.
“I think I can learn a lot from my race in Malaysia. When I was so close to the win, I ran wide. I’ve learned from that. If I did that race again, I would probably win. I’ve got good experience and I hope I can use it in the future.”
To listen to the full interview with Sergio Perez, plus interviews with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ Nick Fry, make sure you listen to the March edition of the JA on F1 podcast available to download directly here.