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.