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…
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
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.