F1 2013 Head-to-Head: Jenson Button vs. Sergio Perez at McLaren
It came as something of a shock when McLaren announced shortly before the U.S. Grand Prix that Sergio Perez would no longer be a part of the team’s plans for 2014.
Perez was as surprised as anyone, the Mexican believing he had done plenty enough to retain his seat after a strong end to a first season with McLaren. But judging a driver by the key barometer of how he matched up against his teammate, did Perez do enough to warrant another crack of the whip?
In our second of a series of driver comparisons for 2013, we evaluate who came out on top by looking at the key criteria of qualifying, race results and temperament.
Qualifying: Button Wins 10-9
It took a while for Perez to find his feet, as is perhaps understandable coming into a new team.
Button out-qualified his young teammate in the first four races as both drivers struggled with a surprisingly uncompetitive machine.
But Perez then began to settle and by the season’s end there was almost nothing between the drivers, Button edging the qualifying battle 10-9.
Button’s highest grid slot was sixth in Belgium, Perez’s seventh in Monaco and the U.S.A.
Race Results: Button Wins 11-5
Jenson Button’s greater experience was always going to give him the edge here and so the stats bore this out.
A DNF for the Englishman in Malaysia was his only such blip of the season whereas Perez failed to see the chequered flag in both Monaco, after he collided with Kimi Raikkonen, and Silverstone where he suffered a spectacular tyre blow-out.
Perez enjoyed the stronger finish to the season with points finishes in the remaining four races but by the season’s end, Button had won the race results head-to-head 11-5.
Temperament: Button Wins
Button must have been wondering what he had let himself in for when in only the fourth race of the season, Perez almost forced him off the circuit, banging wheels in a battle for position.
The end result saw Perez finish sixth, but a fuming Button couldn’t contain his anger in his post-race interview with BBC Sport after finishing down in 10th place.
I was very vocal on the radio - emotions were running high - but I would say the same thing again. Banging wheels at 300kph isn't something we do in Formula 1 normally, so it's a new thing for me. Maybe this is the way we go racing now, I don't know. But it's not the way I want to go racing. We'll have to have a little chat I think because I don't like banging wheels at 300kph. That's dangerous. He has to calm down. I mean, he's extremely quick and did a great job today but some of it is unnecessary and an issue when you're doing those speeds.
It appeared Perez had not learned his lesson in Monaco, Perez brilliantly passing both Button and Fernando Alonso before he tried one move too many on Kimi Raikkonen.
The resultant collision put the Mexican out of the race and Raikkonen fumed, telling BBC Sport that perhaps someone should "punch him in the face”.