McLaren urge Perez to “toughen up”

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Sergio Perez needs to “toughen up” in wheel-to-wheel combat according to team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

Whitmarsh said the team’s new driver has “been generous in allowing people past him”.

“He was a bit more robust today,” added Whitmarsh after yesterday’s Chinese Grand Prix. Perez provoked the ire of Kimi Raikkonen during the race when the Lotus driver hit him on lap 16. “What the hell he’s doing?” said an angry Raikkonen on the radio afterwards.

Whitmarsh said Perez’s driving was “robust” and shrugged off claimed he had been “weaving”. The stewards came down on the side of the McLaren driver, taking no action.

However the race ended in disappointment for Perez as he finished out of the points in 11th place.

“I had a reasonably good first stint and thought we could achieve a good result with the strategy,” he said. “But then we encountered degradation with the tyres and that compromised our pace.”

“We still don’t have the speed in the car, but it’s been a useful learning weekend for the whole team, we got some useful points on the board, and we head to the next race with a clearer idea of just what we can do.”

Perez has two points on the board following his first three races for McLaren.