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'I've got big shoes to fill' - Perez

ESPN Staff
November 12, 2012 « 'Who deserves it most will be champion' - Vettel | Teams get extra tyres for COTA »
Sergio Perez will take over Lewis Hamilton's McLaren in 2013 © Sutton Images

Sergio Perez says he has "got big shoes to fill" when he moves to McLaren next season to replace Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton will join Mercedes in 2013, with Perez taking his place after an impressive year for Sauber which has yielded three podium finishes. With Hamilton having been at McLaren for his whole career and won 20 races with the team - including the 2008 title - Perez admits he will be under pressure as his replacement.

"For sure, I've got big shoes to fill," Perez told CNN. "I rate him very highly and he's maybe the fastest out there. It's going to be tough to follow what he did."

While highlighting Hamilton's pace, Perez also said that beating new team-mate Jenson Button would still be a tough test.

"I've spoken to Jenson a bit since I signed for McLaren. He seems to be a great guy and I think he'll be good fun as a team-mate. He's a very tough guy to beat and is very experienced. He's one of the fastest guys out there."

Despite admitting the challenge ahead of him, Perez is setting himself the ambitious target of being world champion in his first year with McLaren.

"My target straight away is to win the world championship. I need to get wins to do that. I know it will be very hard to win the championship but it's the challenge I want."