Sergio Perez: The lowdown on Lewis Hamilton"s McLaren replacement

So, just who is Sergio Perez Lowdown on Hamilton's replacement at McLaren

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UPDATED:

15:20 GMT, 28 September 2012

From a rookie to a potential world champion in just two seasons, Sergio Perez's rise in F1 has been nothing short of remarkable.

Lewis Hamilton will join Mercedes next season on a three-year deal but McLaren have already moved quickly to sign the 22-year-old Perez from Sauber to partner Jenson Button next season.

The McLaren team principal, Martin Whitmarsh, said: 'We've been monitoring his progress carefully for some months. A string of giant-killing performances, a trio of podiums and a brilliant fastest lap in this year's Monaco Grand Prix that showed us that Sergio lacks nothing in terms of speed and commitment.

Champagne moment: Perez will replace Hamilton at McLaren next term

Champagne moment: Perez will replace Hamilton at McLaren next term

'Uniting Sergio alongside Jenson will give us a very broad base of driver ability.'

But just who is the 'The Mexican Wunderkind' from Guadalajara who will attempt to fill Hamilton's boots

As the first ever member of the Ferrari academy to graduate into Formula One, Sergio Perez has caught the eye in his first two seasons.

It is no surprise that the Mexican was top of McLaren's wish-list in the event Hamilton was to leave.

Perez's promising racing career began in 2004 competing in the Skip Barber series. The following season he moved to Europe and spent two years in the German Formula BMW championship.

On track: Perez made his Formula One debut in 2010

On track: Perez made his Formula One debut in 2010

Phil Duncan F1 blog

He then progressed to GP2, finishing on the podium in both races at Valencia and ending the year 12th.

The Mexican's big-break came before the end of the season, when he was signed by Sauber to partner Kamui Kobayashi in 2011.

There was some controversy initially, as he was sponsored by the telecommunications giant Telmex, which is owned by the world's richest man and fellow Mexican Carlos Slim.

Slim's patriotism towards Perez and his 44bn personal fortune provided ammunition to critics who suggested Perez was a 'pay driver' – someone who wasn't up to standard, but who could bring enormous funding to help his team improve.

Landmark moment: Perez celebrates his first F1 podium at the Malaysian GP

Landmark moment: Perez celebrates his first F1 podium at the Malaysian GP

However Perez responded in style and on his debut, he finished in the points at Melbourne.

Despite being subsequently disqualified for a minor technical infringement, the raw potential was there for all to see.

Perez continued the season impressively, picking up more points in the second half of the season and regularly out-qualifying, the more experienced Kobayashi.

This season, Perez finally announced his arrival on the world stage. Using his well-known ability to manage his tyres, he blitzed the field at the Malaysian Grand Prix and came within a whisker of winning.

Italian job: The 22-year-old secured another podium-finish at Monza

Italian job: The 22-year-old secured another podium-finish at Monza

His impressive form continued as he recorded podiums at Canada and more-recently in Italy, where he drove from 12th on the grid to finish second, behind Hamilton.

Despite his rapid rise to fame and imminent move to one of the most prestigious teams, Perez maintains an air of humbleness and insists he is still a normal guy.

He said: 'If my racing career ended after this season, I would go back to Mexico and try to become a lawyer and live a normal life.

'When I go home to Mexico my dog has absolute priority. Then I jump into my own bed and later go out to meet friends. And if I come home to my European home, it's the same but without the dog.'