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Perez could win on McLaren debut - Whitmarsh

ESPN Staff
October 3, 2012 « Current regulations stifle creativity - Newey | Hamilton explains reasons for Mercedes move »
Sergio Perez has been on the podium three times this year © Sutton Images
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Martin Whitmarsh believes Sergio Perez is capable of challenging for a victory at his first race for McLaren next year.

Perez has been snapped up to replace Lewis Hamilton, who is heading for Mercedes in 2013 after six years at McLaren. Perez has scored three podiums this year with Sauber and Whitmarsh believes the 22 year old will be in a position to fight for wins on his McLaren debut at the 2013 Australian Grand Prix.

"Sergio is very young and we hope to have a very busy winter with him to prepare," Whitmarsh said. "If we give him a good enough car, I don't see why he can't turn up in the first race in Australia vying for a win. I don't think he will consider himself an apprentice. I think he will be a quick learner and, of course time will tell on this, but we're optimistic and ambitious for him next year."

Whitmarsh said Perez's "giant-killing podium performances" made him stand out from other potential candidates such as Paul di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg.

"Obviously we considered a number of options. Sergio is very young, I think if you look at what he did in Monaco last year setting fastest lap, that was quite an attention-grabbing performance and he's had some great giant-killing podium performances this year. I think it really was just watching him on the circuit, his attitude - he's very intelligent and humble individual - and we think he has greater potential than what he has shown so far."