McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh feels Sergio Perez demonstrated what he is capable of with his feisty display in Bahrain.
Just a week after being told by Whitmarsh to "toughen up", Perez showed that he won't be a pushover this season as he went head-to-head with team-mate Jenson Button and also had some tussles with Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber of Red Bull.
However it was his run-ins with his team-mate that grabbed all the headlines as Button accused him of being "too aggressive" and urging him to "calm down" before something serious happens.
Team boss Whitmarsh admits he has a lot of sympathy for Perez as he is up against "a team-mate who is a maestro at understanding things", but feels the Mexican handled the situation on Sunday well.
"I understand what Checo has been going through," said Whitmarsh. "We haven't given either driver the car they should expect from us, and when you come into McLaren as a youngster, that is tough.
"Then you have tricky tyres, and on top of that a World Champion as a team-mate who is a maestro at understanding things and dealing with them, and performing like he has.
"Make no mistake, Jenson has set out to beat Checo every single race, so he has been up against it. That then becomes a media story and adds that external pressure, so all those things don't help.
"But on Sunday he dealt with it, and he will come out of it with confidence at a higher level."
Perez's sixth place in Bahrain was his best position to date for McLaren, but more importantly for those at Woking was the fact that he proved he is up for any fight after a difficult start.
"He demonstrated the passion, the spark that people expect to see from him," added Whitmarsh.
"I don't suppose Mr Fernando Alonso was ultra happy afterwards, nor Mark Webber, nor others, and that is what we expect and want from him, and that is what he delivered.
"That's what other people expect from him - that fire, that spark. You have to be careful because people asked me 'did you give him a kick up the pants after he got out of the car'?
"Personally I don't think that is the right way to treat someone who had just done what he did. Let them reflect on it, think about it, see it, and then you have the talk afterwards when everyone is a bit cooler about it."
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