Hamilton on his way to Mercedes

Fri, Sep 28, 2012, 01:00

Motor Sport:Mexican Sergio Perez will replace Lewis Hamilton at McLaren next season with the former world champion joining Mercedes. Hamilton’s move to Mercedes will see Michael Schumacher go back into retirement at the age of 43 after three unproductive years with that team.

"Sergio's new deal means that he will begin a driving partnership with 2009 world champion Jenson Button," McLaren said in a statement, adding it had signed Perez from Sauber on a multi-year deal. The 22-year-old has been one of the revelations of the season with three podium finishes in 14 races for the Swiss-based team.

Perez, who is currently a member of Ferrari's young driver academy, said he was honoured to be joining McLaren.

"For more than 40 years McLaren has been a team that every racing driver has aspired to drive for -- I was brought up on the great stories of Ayrton Senna's many world championship triumphs for McLaren - and I'm truly honoured that they've chosen me to partner Jenson from 2013 onwards," he said.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said the team had been monitoring Perez for some months: "We're convinced that he's not only talented and quick, but also that he's willing and eager to learn," he said. "He's perfectly poised to develop into a world championship challenger."

With Mercedes set to confirm Hamilton’s appointment later this morning, Whitmarsh paid tribute to the 27-year-old for the role he has played over the last few years. Whitmarsh added: “It’s entirely appropriate I should take this opportunity to pass on our thanks to Lewis.

“He wrote a huge chapter of his life and career with us, and was, and always will be, a fine member of an exclusive club — the McLaren world champions’ club. It goes without saying we all wish him well for the future, just as it also goes without saying we hope and believe Sergio, too, will become a member of that exclusive club before too long.”

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