MONACO, May 22 (Reuters) - McLaren can win races this season despite their car still being some way off the pace, Mexican Sergio Perez said on Wednesday.
“That’s the target. To win a race or a couple of races,” the driver told reporters at the Monaco Grand Prix where last year he set the fastest lap for Sauber.
”We know that at the moment there’s no chance, no way we can think of that but we have to give our best...no-one in the team is giving up.
“I am very proud of my whole team that they are not giving up and I am sure that we will win some races this year.”
McLaren finished last year with the fastest car, and Jenson Button winning the final race in Brazil, but they have lost their way over the European winter and produced a new chassis that has been seconds off the pace - an eternity in Formula One terms where laps are timed in thousandths of a second.
Button and Perez have scored just 29 points between them - 60 less than Red Bull’s triple champion Sebastian Vettel has managed alone in five races so far.
The former champions are sixth in the standings, behind Force India who use the same Mercedes engines and have a far smaller budget.
Perez, who moved to McLaren from Sauber to replace departed 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton, said he expected it would take the team several more races yet to find a solution and narrow the gap on the frontrunners.
”In Barcelona we were massively far away,“ he said. ”You never know, but I expect a couple of races to turn everything around.
“I think it can be a good turnaround. It’s difficult to say that we are going to be on the podium for the British Grand Prix (on June 30) because at the moment where we are it looks very far,” he added.
“But you know, McLaren is a great team and they are working flat out. If we can be on the podium in Silverstone, definitely we can be very happy with the performance and then win some races after that.” (Editing by Alison Wildey)