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Force India says F1 rival McLaren underrated Sergio Perez

Force India reckons Formula 1 rival McLaren 'underrated' Sergio Perez during his ill-fated campaign with the Woking team last season.

The Mexican admitted earlier this year that he came close to quitting F1 after losing his McLaren drive to Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen.

Perez was strongly linked to the Ganassi IndyCar drive vacated following Dario Franchitti's career-ending crash, but eventually secured a deal to race alongside Nico Hulkenberg at Force India.

After a difficult start, Perez claimed the team's first podium of the season at April's Bahrain Grand Prix, came close to winning the Canadian GP before a last-lap shunt with Felipe Massa, and would have been a podium contender again in Austria but for a grid penalty, according to his team.

Force India deputy team principal Bob Fernley reckons McLaren would have been wise to retain Perez given his current form.

When asked whether McLaren possibly underrated Perez, Fernley told AUTOSPORT: "I think they did, perhaps they should have given him another year.

"Based on his second half of last year, which is what we judged when we looked to sign him, I think he did a wonderful job.

"I wasn't overly impressed about the first six months, but I thought the second part was wonderful and that's what convinced us he was right."

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