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Massa and Perez have a need to impress
There are several drivers on the grid with something to prove, while others have had the pressure lifted.
Starting at the top, Sergio Perez is now under the spotlight for a totally different reason.
Gone is the question mark hanging over his McLaren future. In its place is a huge question mark over his immediate future in F1.
Will the Mexican find a place on the 2014 grid? He should, since he is very good. However, the timing of McLaren’s decision to let him go could not have been worse.
Austin and Interlagos are now Perez’s stage. He must dazzle prospective employers to prove, at the last minute, they should change their mind and go with him.
On the flipside of that, Felipe Massa’s 2014 berth has been confirmed at Williams.
We have already seen a notable difference in his performances since he was confirmed as leaving Ferrari, and it will be fascinating to see what his final two Grands Prix will yield.
Ultimately, his performances have deserved more than the results he’s achieved in recent races, and he will be fired up to perform here in a precursor to his Ferrari farewell.
More than that, though, Williams will be keen to see exactly what it has signed.
Keep an eye, too, on the two chaps at Toro Rosso and Caterham running in Friday practice.
The much-talked about 2014 signing Daniil Kvyat makes his Friday test debut with the former, while American Alexander Rossi is driving for Caterham again.