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OCTOBER 9, 2012

Perez: a diamond that needs to be honed

By Tony Dodgins (@TonyDodgins)

That was the verdict of McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh after a Japanese Grand Prix in which his new recruit failed to finish after, ironically, an attempted pass of Lewis Hamilton, the man he replaces, went awry. By Tony Dodgins (@TonyDodgins)

Since Perez's signing for 2013 and beyond, Whitmarsh has made the point that Perez is still very young (on the F1 grid only Charles Pic and JeanEric Vergne are younger), but the Mexican's Japanese race contained some questionable race craft as he allowed Kimi Raikkonen to run him wide on the exit of Turns 1/2 at the restart and then attempted a couple of aggressive passes of Hamilton at the hairpin.

The first, on lap 6, allowed Perez to take sixth place from Hamilton as Lewis struggled with an understeering car. But the second, after the first pit stops had reversed their race positions once again, put the Sauber into the gravel and out of the race.

"I thought Sergio was quite keen!" Whitmarsh smiled. "The first move on Lewis was quite good, the second one less good...

"I think we've got someone who wants to go out there to race and challenge.

There's a diamond that needs to be honed there, and that's quite an interesting challenge."