Perez says he's cleared the air with Button

By Jerome Pugmire, AP, 9 May 2013
© Glenn Dunbar/LAT Photographic/McLaren

Sergio Perez has made peace with teammate Jenson Button and their McLaren bosses after twice hitting Button during the Bahrain Grand Prix last month.

Perez says they now need to work harder together in order to make McLaren more competitive at this week's Spanish Grand Prix.

"We are thankful that we are in a team like McLaren which lets you fight as teammates, so in that respect we have to respect each other a bit more," Perez said on Thursday. "We lost time and I think that has to be a little bit different between us."

Button was unhappy with Perez three weeks ago, rebuking him over the race radio for his aggressive attitude and telling his own team to calm him down after Perez slammed into the rear of Button's car and bumped him side on.

But Perez insists that all has been smoothed out now.

"We had a very good chat, Jenson and I, but also with (team principal) Martin (Whitmarsh)," Perez said. "I think we were a bit too aggressive, both of us, and we risked quite a lot for the team. Especially as we needed the points."

McLaren, which replaced Lewis Hamilton with Perez, has made a dismal start to the season. Button is in tenth place, Perez is 11th, and they have only one top-five finish between them.

The 23-year-old Perez finished on the podium twice last season -- his second year on the F1 circuit -- and the Mexican is considered one of the most exciting drivers. McLaren gives their drivers a certain amount of flexibility, but Perez accepts that went too far in Bahrain.

"We were quite aggressive, we were close to having an accident," Perez said. "The chat was mainly to clear the air, to say everything that we thought between us and to clear the relationship because at the moment, especially, we need to be together to come out of the position that we are in."

Perez's best finish this season was in Bahrain, where he finished sixth, but before that he finished ninth and twice finished 11th. Button has struggled just as badly -- placing ninth in Australia, 17th in Malaysia and tenth in Bahrain.

 

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