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McLaren has confirmed the signing of Sergio Pérez on a multi-year deal, paving the way for the announcement on Lewis Hamilton's switch to Mercedes. The Mexican has impressed many in the paddock since joining the sport in 2011, with a trio of podium finishes this season ultimately convincing his new employers.
Pérez immediately made his mark by recording a points finish in his maiden Grand Prix last year, only for it to be taken away with a post-race disqualification. However, despite a massive Monaco qualifying crash, he scored five points finishes in his debut season and has bettered that in 2012 with six races remaining.
"I’m thrilled and delighted to have become a Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver," said Pérez. "The McLaren name is one of the greatest in the history of Formula 1.
"For more than 40 years McLaren has been a team that every racing driver has aspired to drive for - I was brought up on the great stories of Ayrton Senna's many World Championship triumphs for McLaren - and I'm truly honoured that they've chosen me to partner Jenson from 2013 onwards. I've spent the 2012 season working very hard to demonstrate my potential, but I've always remained humble and focused."
Pérez went on to thank current team boss Peter Sauber, with his team giving the 22-year-old the 'perfect opportunity' to showcase his potential since joining F1.
"I am, and always will be, extremely grateful to Peter and everybody at the Sauber Formula 1 team for their belief in me, and for giving me the chance to race in F1. In fact, they gave me the perfect opportunity to demonstrate what I can do - and I'm now equally grateful to Martin (Whitmarsh) and everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes for giving me the chance to take this next very big step in my career.
Despite admitting that joining McLaren will be his biggest test to date, Pérez is relishing the opportunity of working alongside 2009 World Champion Jenson Button.
"I'm under no illusion that it is indeed a very big step – as it would be for any driver – but I'm ready for it. So, while I'm still fully focused on doing my best for Sauber for the remainder of this season, I'm already massively looking forward to working with everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, and with Jenson, who's someone I’ve long admired as a brilliant driver and a great champion."
Pérez move is on of the biggest in the driver market to date, all but confirming Hamilton's expected move to Mercedes and leaving a spare seat at Sauber.
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