Perez admits Monaco crash was big setback

Sergio Perez has admitted his Monaco crash was a hefty setback in his debut F1 season.

The 21-year-old Mexican, who will stay with the Sauber team in 2012, crashed heavily during qualifying for the prestigious race in May.

He sat out Sunday’s race and then tried to return in Canada two weeks later, ultimately giving up his seat to Pedro de la Rosa after not feeling well during practice.

Races in Valencia, Silverstone, Germany and Hungary then apparently signalled a full return to health.

But just before the recent Belgian grand prix, Perez was quoted as saying the August break “was good for me to fully recover” from his crash three months earlier.

“The accident threw me back quite a lot,” he revealed to Germany’s this week.

“I lost my momentum and so it took me a long time to get back my normal level of performance.”

Perez has just 8 points so far compared with teammate Kamui Kobayashi’s 27, and he thinks that if Monaco had proceeded normally “I definitely would have more (points) compared to him” by now.

But Perez, backed not only by the billionaire Carlos Slim’s companies but also Ferrari, insists he never feared for his career.

“No, I was not worried, except that for a couple of races I had to recover.

“Sauber is a really good team for a rookie. The support I have is great.”

Sauber has already signed Perez for 2012, but at the end of the season the young driver will test a works Ferrari.

His likely career trajectory has therefore been compared with Felipe Massa’s, who drove at Ferrari-powered Sauber before moving to Maranello.

“Well, first of all I have to prove that I can do my job well.

“Of course I want to have a lot of success in formula one and be world champion, but how and when I will move in that direction, at the moment I have no idea,” said Perez.