If a driver racing with a mid-field team nearly challenges the likes of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton for a Grand Prix win, it becomes a lot easier for the frontrunners to spot emerging talent. Sergio Perez cast himself in the spotlight by doing just that after he came close to clinching victories in Malaysia and Italy in 2012, snapping on the nerves of Alonso and Hamilton respectively. It was then apt for McLaren to sign him up to replace the Mercedes-bound Hamilton, putting faith in the Mexican's shining prospects. Ferrari was speculated to have considered Perez as well despite stating that he was not ready to make the big step, but now it's rather too late for the Italian squad. Affectionately called Checo, Perez is set to mark his arrival in Formula 1 with McLaren, confident that he could not only challenge for race wins but also for the championship. His influence back home is such that it has also revived interest in staging a Mexican Grand Prix. His popularity has also seeped into the United States, with the inaugural race in Austin in 2012 attracting many of Perez's countrymen to make an appearance to support their hero. Having made his debut with Sauber in only 2011, Perez has progressed in F1 by leaps and bounds. His three podiums with the Swiss team was just a start as he now starts a title-contending career with McLaren.
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