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Guadalajara’s boy racer ready to become a man

March 16, 2012

With greater experience and maturity, Tapatio race ace Sergio “Checo” Perez is targeting a strong start to his second Formula One season, which begins this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix.

“I think I know the car much better than last year at the beginning of the season,” said Perez, 22, who drives for team Sauber. “I’m happy with the balance and happy with how things went, I think we are reaching our peak in terms of setup and we are in a good place to start the season.”

Perez enjoyed a solid debut season, finishing 16th in the final standings with 14 points, but it was not without its ups and downs.

The only driver to make just one pit stop, Perez finished in seventh place in last year’s Australian Grand Prix – his first ever F1 race – enough to earn him six points. But his joy was soon dashed as both Sauber cars were subsequently disqualified for infringing technical regulations.

Perez’ luck worsened when he crashed in qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix last May, suffering a sprained thigh and concussion. The accident kept him out of the race in Monaco and the subsequent Canadian Grand Prix.

This season, Perez is looking forward to one race more than any other. After a four-year absence, Formula One returns to the United States in November 2012. The U.S. Grand Prix will be held in Austin, Texas, affording Perez the chance to appear before thousands of his compatriots.

“It’s closer to my home and there will be many Mexicans there, it will be very special for me,” he said.

Perez will face strong competition this year, not only from Sebastian Vettel, who has won the past two championships with Red Bull Racing, but also veteran world champions such as Michael Schumacher and Kimi Raikkonen.

Yet with a year’s racing under his belt, the boy from Guadalajara is ready for the challenge: “I am confident I can step forward in 2012 and achieve better results for the team with more consistent performances.”

 

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