Peter Sauber admits rookie driver Sergio Perez has exceeded his expectations, and says accidents like the one he suffered in China are just part of the learning process.
The Mexican made a sensational start to life in Formula 1 with a superb drive to seventh place in the Australian Grand Prix, from which his team was later disqualified for a technical infringement. Perez, however, endured a difficult Chinese Grand Prix last Sunday, crashing into Adrian Sutil after losing control of his car.
Sauber downplayed the incident, and said he has been impressed with the rookie so far.
"We knew that in Sergio we were getting a quick, young driver," said Sauber. "Even so, with a rookie you never have a guarantee that he will be able to call on his full potential under the pressure of a race weekend.
"I had high expectations of Sergio, and I have to say that so far he has actually exceeded these. He not only has the ability to look after his tires extremely well, but also drives very consistently in the races. However, Sergio is also well aware that he is at the beginning of a long learning process, part of which will be incidents like the ones last Sunday in Shanghai.
"I'm in no doubt that Sergio will maximize his huge potential step by step. The critical factor here is that he feels comfortable within the team and has an environment which helps him to develop as well as possible."
Sauber also praised teammate Kamui Kobayashi, who he reckons has assumed the role of team leader very well.
"Kamui has developed wonderfully well as a driver over the course of the last year alone, and now he is also carrying out his new role by challenging our engineers and helping them to follow the right development path. And, of course, he continues to give us a lot of pleasure with his outstanding overtaking moves out on the track. Another very important factor is that he is a true team player, and that's something Sergio also benefits from. The two drivers really work very well together."