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"I wanted to be at Ferrari in 2014," Perez, who will move to the British team from Sauber at the end of the year, told El Mundo newspaper.
He said the signs he had a future at Ferrari were good, particularly after a meeting at Monza with Stefano Domenicali.
"They were really interested in me, but now not," the 22-year-old smiled.
Recalling the day he signed with McLaren, Perez admitted: "I jumped on my bed and drank tequila with my friends."
His new boss Martin Whitmarsh, however, warned the new McLaren driver not to be too excited.
"He will turn up in Australia next year with so much more pressure on his shoulders," he said. "There is an added pressure to being a McLaren driver.
"He might think he understands it, but he doesn't."