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Sergio Perez told to 'toughen up' by Whitmarsh

ESPN Staff
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Sergio Perez walks away after crashing his McLaren in the pit lane during Friday practice © Sutton Images
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Sergio Perez has been told he has to "toughen up" after three uninspiring races since joining McLaren at the start of the season.

He has completed all three grands prix but has only managed two points and has only qualified once in the top ten, in Malaysia when he went on to secure a ninth place finish. In China he crashed twice during Friday practice and both incidents appeared to be down to driver error. In the race itself he clashed with an angry Kimi Raikkonen and eventually ended just outside the points in 11th.

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh did not pull his punches, saying that Perez had to adapt quickly even if it meant putting others' noses out of joint.

"He's been very polite so far this year," Whitmarsh said. "He needs to toughen up. He's been generous in allowing people past him. I told him: 'You have to be out there racing'. That means sometimes you have got to use elbows and you have got to be robust without being dirty."

But Whitmarsh was quick not to apportion all the blame on the early-season issues on Perez himself. "He's a young driver and it was a difficult weekend. We have not given him a great car so far. We as a team have got to step up and support the young driver, who has got an enormous amount of talent.

"He's still a very young guy in a big team with lots of expectations, so you are under a lot more scrutiny. It is tougher and he has a team-mate who is doing a great job, so there is some pressure there."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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