S’pore ‘toughest’ track in the world: Perez

S’pore ‘toughest’ track in the world: Perez
Formula One race driver Sergio Perez arriving at Clarke Quay in a McLaren MP4-12C on 18 September 2013. The build-up to the 2013 Formula One SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, Johnnie Walker has launched its global “Join The Pact” campaign with Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Sergio Perez and former two-time world champion Mika Hakkinen.

Getting into his McLaren MP4- 28 race car at 9pm always feels strange for Sergio Perez.

But that is hardly what makes the F1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix the most challenging race in the Formula One calender.

Speaking at the Johnnie Walker "Join The Pact" launch (see sidebar) at Clarke Quay yesterday, the 23-year-old said the Marina Bay street circuit stands apart from any other circuit in the world - not least for its atmosphere and narrow track.

"Many compare (the Singapore Grand Prix) to Monaco, but you cannot do that," he said. "The Singapore circuit is so demanding; you can't imagine how tough it is.

"There are 23 turns, that's the most in any track we (drivers) race on. Plus, its hot.

The weather just kills you. It is physically very demanding."

Toughness

Despite the toughness, Perez - dubbed "The Mexican Wunderkind" - said he always looks forward to the Singapore Grand Prix, which runs from tomorrow to Sunday.

The 1.72-metre tall driver, who made his Formula One debut at the 2011 Australian GP with Sauber, has not had as impressive a year as many expected.

Since replacing Lewis Hamilton at McLaren at the start of the season, Perez has amassed just 18 points and 12 complete races, placing him 12th in the drivers' standings.

Many racing critics have tipped him as a future world champion because of his aggressive overtaking moves and bravery on the track.

The young Mexican often drives with scant regard for reputation, pushing world champions Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton to the wire.

Perhaps it was fitting that the young upand- coming driver sat next to Mika Hakkinen, two-time F1 world champion (1998, 1999). who is another ambassador of Johnnie Walker's "Join The Pact" initiative.

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