F1 Driver Review: Sergio Perez

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After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship season, my colleague Chris Estrada and I are taking a look back on how each of the 23 Formula One drivers who took to the grid fared this past year.

Notching an 11th-place result in his lone year for McLaren was Sergio Perez…

SERGIO PEREZ

No. 6 McLaren-Mercedes
2013 Stats: 11th Place, 0 Wins, 0 Podiums, 1 Top-5, 11 Top-10s, 0 Laps Led
Average Start: 11.0
Average Finish: 10.2
DNFs: 2

DiZinno says: Wrong place, wrong time? The question has to be asked whether Perez was up for the challenge of McLaren but the team did him almost no favors. It was a lackluster car and at times Perez overdrove it; Monaco comes to mind for that. But there were highlights, notably Bahrain as mentioned below, India where he made several good passes and Brazil where he overcame a qualifying crash to end sixth. And to be fair, he did outqualify Button on the season, 10-9, although no one would say Button is F1’s best qualifier. All the while he maintained a favorable disposition and when he was dumped for 2014, that’s when he rose to the challenge most of all with two inspired drives. Quite frankly though, there should have been that level effort all year.

Estrada says: Replacing Lewis Hamilton was going to be a tough challenge no matter what. Perez gave it a good shot, but he just wasn’t able to finish ahead of teammate Jenson Button more often in a car that was a hindrance to them both. Still, there were good days. His bruising battle with Button en route to sixth at Bahrain may have frustrated the McLaren team but was tremendously entertaining for the rest of us. And he finished off a season-ending run of four consecutive points-paying finishes with a sixth at Brazil from 19th on the starting grid. There’s a good bit of talent in Perez, and perhaps that’s why McLaren principal Martin Whitmarsh went ahead and recommended him to other teams after telling him he wouldn’t be retained; Perez has landed on his feet at Force India, where he’ll try to prove his mettle again in 2014.

Takuma Sato’s likeness revealed on Borg-Warner Trophy (PHOTOS)

Photos; Walt Kuhn
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INDIANAPOLIS – Rather than the traditional December unveil, this year’s reveal newest likeness added to the Borg-Warner Trophy came Tuesday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum.

Takuma Sato got to see the result of the sculpting done by William Behrends and then turned from wax, clay and ceramic into sterling silver on Tuesday evening, as the winner of the 101st Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil saw his face revealed on the trophy.

Sato took the No. 26 Ruoff Home Mortgage Honda for Andretti Autosport to the win in thrilling fashion this year over Helio Castroneves, denying the Brazilian his fourth Indianapolis 500 victory in the process. It atoned for his near-miss in 2012, driving for Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, the team he’ll return to in 2018.

It’s been a whirlwind last week-plus for Sato, doing the podium interviews at the Japanese Grand Prix, reflecting on his Indianapolis 500 triumph, then sharing the victory spoils with another Japanese pilot in Yoshihide Muroya, who won the Red Bull Air Race World Championship at Indianapolis this weekend.

Photos of Sato’s face on the most unique trophy in sports are below. This post will be updated following tonight’s full unveil. (All photos: Walt Kuhn)