The winner of the Hamilton/Mercedes deal is...Sergio Perez? - Team VVV

News The winner of the Hamilton/Mercedes deal is…Sergio Perez?


James Allen


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A few of you may have read my piece that highlighted the reasons why I thought the rumour of Hamilton's move to Mercedes was 'poppycock', and as such may have remembered that I promised I'd never comment on any Formula One news if my hunch was proven to be incorrect.

Which should mean that, with Mercedes confirming that Rosberg will be sharing garage space with the 2008 World Champion next year, I shouldn't really be writing this. However, whilst everyone else is swooning over how Eddie Jordan ended up being right after all, they seem to have forgotten about Hamilton's replacement: Sergio Perez.

Considering the Mexican driver is so closely linked to Ferrari, it is a tad surprising that Martin Whitmarsh was able to persuade Sergio to partner Button for the 2013 season and beyond. And, in my opinion, it's a bit of a shocker that no one seems to have realised that the former Sauber star might end up being the winner out of this driver move-around.

Yes, as Tim Goodchild pointed out, there is the potential that Hamilton's decision to switch teams could prove beneficial in the long-run, especially as Mercedes will be able to build their car around the new turbocharged V6 engine in 2014, whilst McLaren will have to adapt its entry just months or so before the season starts.

But let's not forget that, historically at least, McLaren has done well with pretty much every engine it's ever slotted into a Grand Prix car and, perhaps more crucially, there's seriously untapped potential in young Sergio.

We've all known that Perez isn't exactly what you'd call a 'shabby driver' – his drives in the last few seasons with Sauber, especially at this year's Malaysian, Canadian and Italian GPs, have been nothing short of spectacular, and all in a car that simply shouldn't be fighting for podium positions.

So, imagine what he'll be like with the support of a top tier team behind him! Yes, this is speculation at the moment, but let's be honest, shall we? As good as Sauber has been this year, it's certainly not in the position to emulate the success it had when BMW was at the helm. Which makes Perez's achievements that more impressive.

But not only will Sergio have one of the top teams at his disposal, but he'll have the likes of Jenson Button as a rival; as someone to compare himself to and aspire to beat. Putting Button's topsy-turvy 2012 aside, he's still a more-than worthy benchmark for Perez to measure himself against.

Put simply, with a McLaren to thrash and Button as a team-mate, we'll properly see just what Sergio Perez is capable of, and whether or not if he is capable of winning world championships. And, if his pace this year is anything to go by, it's incredibly likely that he'll do just that, even if the car he drives next year ends up being the equivalent of this year's Ferrari.

Then again, I haven't exactly got the best track record of making accurate asusmptions (with my Hamilton piece, my success rate at predicting the future stands at a not-very-admirable 0%), and we won't know for certain as to what Perez' pace in next year's McLaren will be until, at the very earliest, the pre-season test sessions.

But even a novice like me can realise that the prospect of Sergio Perez as a driver for Woking's finest motor racing team is incredibly exciting and, unless the season goes incredibly badly for McLaren, (i.e. first half of 2009 bad), we're absolutely certain that he'll accumulate a few more podium finishes, and perhaps even a few wins here and there, during his first year as a Macca driver.

Or, put simply, the shiny silver car with (we assume) a motif to Mexico amongst the sponsorshop decals will be one to look out for in 2013!

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