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I'm underperforming at McLaren - Perez

ESPN Staff
September 21, 2013 « 'I just wasn't fast enough' - Hamilton | Caterham sticks with Renault power »
Sergio Perez: "I have to say I'm not happy in my performance" © Sutton Images
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Sergio Perez has admitted he needs to up his game amid new pressure on him over his drive at McLaren.

Rumours that the team may approach Fernando Alonso either this year or next year have exposed the fact that Perez has yet to agree a contract for next season with McLaren. Team principal Martin Whitmarsh has made clear that he expects Perez to up his game and the Mexican agrees.

"I have to say I'm not happy in my performance," he said. "The car and the year has been very difficult and we are still learning about the car, which makes things difficult. So a small thing that goes wrong, like today, by going a little bit in the wrong direction, you go from being P7 to P14.

"Of course my season looks worse on paper than it has been, but I am working with the team to improve because once we get a car [capable of winning] we have to be right in every single detail. I think this season, even though the car has not been good, we haven't been good enough to maximise every single detail."

Whitmarsh said Perez is being measured against Jenson Button, who he is trailing by 30 points in the drivers' standings, and needs to improve next year.

"Checo has come into a team with a very high benchmark in the other driver," Whitmarsh explained. "He's got someone who is consistently quick, someone who has got a decade more experience than him. So it's not easy for him to come into the team and beat someone like Jenson, who doesn't often make mistakes, gets it right and knows how to work with the team very well.

"Checo has come a long way in learning, he's set himself ambitious targets and will want to go further. This is a year of learning and I'm sure we haven't seen the best of him yet and I'm sure he strives to be up there and wants to beat Jenson. That's a goal he has and a good and legitimate goal."