Perez ready to work hard for McLaren

Sergio Perez knows winning will be his only option when he replaces Lewis Hamilton at McLaren next season.

Formula 1 News: Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez

The 22-year-old Mexican has been rewarded for several outstanding performances with Sauber this season, including three podium finishes, with one of the most prized seats in the paddock.

But the expectations of racing for Sauber are very different to those Perez will face when he lines up on the grid with his next team in Australia next March.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has made it clear he expects his new charge to be challenging for wins from the outset.

And Perez is well aware it will be his duty to bring home the spoils.

He said: "I think with McLaren there is no other option (but to win). You have to try and win every race, when you have a car that can win every race. It's a guarantee.

"McLaren is always a guarantee, so I have to work very hard. I have to give everything to my team and I am ready to do that, once I have finished this season."

But the former GP2 racer acknowledges he will be under big pressure replacing 2008 champion Hamilton, who he rates as one of the quickest drivers in the current field.

"Of course I rate Lewis as one of the fastest drivers on the grid so it will not be easy at all," he said.

"I know he has very big shoes to fill, and I will work as hard as possible to give the best results and win the championship with this great team."

For much of the season Ferrari had seemed a more likely destination for Perez, who was part of the Italian team's young driver programme.

But Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo publicly questioned whether Perez had the maturity to race for the Prancing Horse.

Perez, who also revealed his talks with McLaren had begun weeks ago, well before Hamilton informed the team he was leaving, rejected Di Montezemolo's comment and is ready to shine in a team that will give him a genuine chance of winning a world title.

"Of course I respect him (Di Montezemolo)," he said.

"He is a person that I respect a lot. Maybe to drive for Ferrari you need more experience. I think he has his arguments, it's better you ask him what he meant by that.

"Maybe I am too young to join a team like Ferrari, I don't know.

"But I feel ready to drive for a top team and to fight for the championship."

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