• Canadian Grand Prix - FP2

10 minute warning for de la Rosa

ESPNF1 Staff
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Pedro de la Rosa drove for Sauber for the first 14 races of last season © Sutton Images
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Pedro de la Rosa said he was told he would be driving for Sauber just 10 minutes before the second practice session began on Friday.

De la Rosa was drafted in by Sauber to replace Sergio Perez, who complained that he was still feeling the effects of his heavy crash in Monaco during the first session. De la Rosa said that he was aware of a possibility that he would be required as Peter Sauber had made contact with McLaren before the race weekend, but that he had expected Perez to be fully fit to drive.

"Martin Whitmarsh had told me that Sauber had called in case there was a chance, but told me not to get carried away," de la Rosa said. "So I arrived here thinking it was impossible. I knew Sergio was fine and I was sure I wouldn't get in the car, until ten to two. I was finishing lunch when Monisha Kaltenborn [Sauber CEO] showed up at McLaren and asked me, 'are you ready? It's very likely you will have to get in the car'. I checked my watch and it was ten to two and I said 'but there's 10 minutes to the start of the session!'

"From then it was a crazy race to get my helmet, my overalls, my things at McLaren, sit in the car, and set up the pedals where I wanted. But we couldn't do it, and we had to go out with the pedals where they were. But you don't have to be nervous. It's an opportunity and we have to enjoy it."

As a precaution Sauber had brought one of de la Rosa's seats from last season when he drove for the team, allowing him to jump in to the car relatively quickly. Despite his experience, he said there was still a lot to learn in the new car having been used to the McLaren steering wheel.

"We could use my seat from last year which was absolutely very, very important and vital. As far as all the rest is concerned, I went out with my McLaren overalls, boots, helmet. We also did a quick fix on the ear pieces to match the system from Sauber.

"Let's be realistic. I have a lot to learn yet. I need a lot more discipline with the buttons, the KERS, the DRS, because I'm used to a car with the buttons on the opposite side. So I have to look at the buttons and then push it. It doesn't come naturally yet. We'll be fine. I have to improve step by step, but I'm happy because I didn't expect it."

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