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Sergio Perez eyes success at US Grand Prix

Mexican thrilled to be replacing Hamilton in McLaren’s line-up

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: If US Grand Prix organisers are looking for a brand ambassador, Sauber’s Sergio Perez wouldn’t be a bad choice.

The first Formula One driver from Mexico to reach the podium in 40 years, the 22-year-old racer is being touted as the next Ayrton Senna. His success this season has also put Formula One on the radar in Mexico, which means the race in Austin, Texas later this month is expected to attract plenty of Latinos. The inaugural race is just a few hours’ drive from the Mexican border.

Perez, speaking ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, says he is thrilled to be replacing Lewis Hamilton at McLaren next season and is hoping the faster car gives him a chance to eventually challenge for the championship.

Recently questioned if his McLaren future was becoming a distraction for the remainder of the season, Perez replied: “Not at all. I think it’s very normal that people are looking at you [after you’ve been in the news].

“When you have something good, and you do something bad after that, it’s normal that they relate everything to it and they make up the stories.”

He added: “For sure it’s just a coincidence. The people who know what’s going on are the people who worry me at the moment. I’m fully focused.

“If the results haven’t come, it’s because there is a reason for that. It’s normal that people want to make up stories that I’m not doing well because of the McLaren deal. It’s not true and it’s not right.”

Perez said his main concern was that his engineers and fans might start to believe that he has taken his mind off 2012. “It doesn’t bother me at all, but it bothers me because of my team,” he said.