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McLaren already seem to be sending mixed messages just four races into the 2013 season. Up until the Chinese Grand Prix, team boss Martin Whitmarsh said that new driver, and Lewis Hamilton replacement, Sergio PErez hadn’t put a foot wrong. After the Chinese Grand Prix, Whitmarsh took the the airwaves and chided Perez for being soft and needing to raise his game.

Perez took his boss literally and upped his game and became more aggressive .. perhaps too aggressive as the driver on the working end of his aggression in Today’s Bahrain Grand Prix was his own teammate, Jenson Button. Button said:

“I was vocal on the radio and emotions were running high but I will say exactly what I said then: the racing out there and was great fun but Checo was too aggressive,” Button said.

“At 300 kilometres an hour you don’t expect your team-mate to come alongside and bang wheels with you. So that was a bit of a surprise and I’m probably not the only one feels like that.”

As for team boss Whitmarsh? The moves by Perez were soething he asked for but perhaps one was a little over the top:

“You don’t hit your team-mate, though,” said Whitmarsh. “As I said to Checo, end-plate to rear tyre could have punctured Jenson and broken his front wing. That was over the limit.

“I wasn’t encouraging them to battle but neither was I discouraging them either. I had quite a lot of noise in my ear from people telling me that I should tell them to cool it.

For Perez, the Bahrain Grand Prix was a day that he delivered what his boss asked for and it didn’t matter much who was in front of him but perhaps he was a little too agressive:

“It was perhaps a bit too much between myself and Jenson,” admitted Perez. “Generally it was too much. We touched and I lost a front end-plate and some downforce and it was lucky I didn’t puncture his tyre.”

Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. All of this, in my opinion, would be moot if the car were performing properly and McLaren weren’t stressed for answers on the lack of performance which has placed the spotlight on their new driver as a target of frustration.

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • mini696

    While I was nervous as hell watching this battle (amongst many others) during the race, it was fantastic to see.

    Was it too far?
    Yes.

    Do I want to see them cool it next time?
    No way.

    • cconf1

      What mini said. :)

  • BobMendon

    This was a great race for just that-racing! Did Perez go too far…no! They both finished the race. Nothing he did interfered with either of their ability to continue racing and finish. It was great watching the action at the start and this particular battle. The press has been busting Perez for being too timid. I think he simply had enough and took it to the track. Good on him!

  • WTkFox

    I know team orders are against McLaren’s policy but the entire race, Perez was the quicker driver and should of been given the position so it doesn’t chomp up Button’s.
    I hate to admit it, but it was exciting and gripping action

  • Rapierman

    I think this was just a case of Perez not watching what he was doing.

  • UAN

    I don’t about too far, but Perez shoving Alonso off the track – brilliant!

  • No fue demasiado!

  • mjidris

    It was probably a little over the top. He could’ve driven aggressively and competitively without running off the track and touching Button’s car. On the bright side, this is the third case of Team Orders (or in this case, the lack of team orders) this year.

    Red Bull: Vettel passes Webber breaking team orders, the world goes crazy.
    Mercedes: Rosberg does not pass Hamilton, the world forgets about his maturity.
    McLaren: Perez literally fights with Button (and pretty much everyone else he faced on the track), and they were allowed to “fight” it out. It was kind of exciting to watch the two of them go at it.

    • Rik

      You forgot how Rosberg was blocking and swerving all over the place and did not get called for it. He seems to have taken a page from Mark Webber in his earlier days.

      Perez, BRILLIANT! What more can a team ask from a driver? He tried and tried and SUCCEED! Button pushed him off the course but Perez kept attacking and attacking. Button pitted to get away from him.

      Alonso! That was great. DRS or no DRS he was passed in an area that did not allow it so I bet that burned his rear a bit to have a McLaren pass him and a being Perez made it even funnier

      • Rapierman

        Given that Rosberg constantly fell backwards, I don’t think any blocking would have been consequential.

        • Rik

          Certainly he fell back but he was a moving chicane in doing so for everyone that encountered him. Even Button, well he is not a good example as he cries about everyone, stated he was dangerous by darting under braking. Regardless of results, he drove in a very unnecessary manner.

  • Parik

    It was really exciting to see the McLarens battle it our for almost the entire race. This in addition to the other 4 car trains made this one of those races that you would want to watch again. Since there has been a lot of comment on whether Perez was wrong or not I am going to stay away from that. One thing I did expect (thankfully it did not happen) Perez to do once he overtook Button was to rear-end another car; the driving did seem erratic at times. The good thing is that McLaren seems to be picking up pace as the season progresses.

  • BuddyH

    Maybe Button should have let him by. Perez finished 4 spots ahead of Button, if Button had let him by earlier, maybe perez could have secured even more points for the team. If Button would have had his request granted the team would have lost significant points. I like Button, but he was putting himself ahead of the team. He was slower than Perez, the proof is the final results. Plus it was awesome to watch. I wonder if Perez has got under Button’s skin.

  • BuddyH

    Maybe Button should have let him by. Perez finished 4 spots ahead of Button, if Button had let him by earlier, maybe perez could have secured even more points for the team. If Button would have had his request granted the team would have lost significant points. I like Button, but he was putting himself ahead of the team. He was slower than Perez, the proof is the final results. Plus it was awesome to watch.