NASCAR

Perez shrugs of comparisons to Ayrton Senna

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GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP)

Sergio Perez is Mexico's first Formula One driver to reach the podium in 40 years, which means in Latin America he is being compared to the late Brazilian great Ayrton Senna.

Perez, speaking Friday in his hometown of Guadalajara in western Mexico, shrugged off the comparisons and suggested fans should revisit the subject in two or three seasons when he might be ready to challenge for the Formula One season title.

The 22-year-old Sauber driver finished second in last weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix behind winner Fernando Alonso of Spain.

''It makes me proud that people compare me to someone like Senna, but I've still got a lot to do in my career to receive that kind of praise,'' Perez said.

Perez has been likened to Senna because of his pace in the rain during the Malaysian race, a skill that made Senna famous.

He has also been linked with a move to Ferrari. He said there was nothing to the rumors, but acknowledged joining a larger team was his ambition.

''In the future my goal is to be in a big team and to be fighting for victories,'' he said. ''The most important thing is having a car that gives me the chance to win races.''

Senna was a three-time F-1 champion who killed in a crash while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.

Perez entered Formula One last year with Sauber and finished his debut season with 14 points. He already has 22 points as the season heads to China, the third race of the season.

''I believe that in two or three years I will be fighting for the world championship,'' he said.

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