Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez
Country: 
Mexico
Birth Date: 
26 January, 1990
Birth Place: 
Guadalajara

Sergio Perez Biography

Sergio Perez will compete with Red Bull Racing in the 2023 F1 World Championship, his third year with the team.

Sergio Perez F1 Career (2011 - Present)

Sergio Perez

Perez received his F1 debut in 2011 with the privateer Sauber team, replacing the experienced Nick Heidfeld and paired with Kamui Kobayashi, who competed with the Swiss outfit the previous year.

On paper it was a difficult campaign with only a smattering of points finishes that paled into comparison with more prolific scorer Kobayashi, Perez’s best finish coming courtesy of a seventh at the British Grand Prix. 

However, he would have matched this on his debut in Australia had he (and Kobayashi) not been disqualified for a technical infringement during a race in which he demonstrated his burgeoning race craft by making a one-stop strategy work to surge up the order.

His season was also marred by a high-speed smash at the Monaco Grand Prix when he got out of shape exiting the tunnel, sending his Sauber into spin that thudded him into the barriers heavily. Escaping major injury beyond a concussion and a sprained thigh, he nonetheless missed both the Monaco Grand Prix and the following Canadian Grand Prix.

Sergio Perez

Retained by Sauber for 2012, Perez came of age in what was a competitive upper midfield car during a year in which the unpredictable Pirelli tyres allowed some lesser fancied teams to challenge the perceived big budget outfits.

This was especially true during the early rounds and almost led to Perez getting a shock victory in Round 2 at Sepang when he was able to work his way up to second place before closing on leader Fernando Alonso. Getting onto the Ferrari’s tail and seemingly poised to overtake in the closing stages for what would have also been Sauber’s first-ever win as a privateer team - some 19 years after its F1 debut - in the end a mistake at Turn 14 cost him time he couldn’t quite recover. 

However, the result would go on to inspire some eye-catching performances elsewhere, with a second podium coming in the Canadian Grand Prix before producing arguably his best result of the season with a run to third from 12th on the grid at Monza with a combination of deft tyre management and impressive overtaking. He’d end the year tenth in the standings, ahead of Kobayashi.

Sergio Perez

Perez’s giant-killing performances in the Sauber raised anticipation he could be in line for a switch to Ferrari - itself running backing from Telmex - but instead opted to sign with McLaren,  filling the large shoes left by Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton. 

However, it was a tough initiation for Perez, who - unbeknown at the time - was saddled with a McLaren team at the beginning of what would be a prolonged period of decline for the iconic British team.

Coupled to run-ins with other drivers - including team-mate Jenson Button - Perez’s modest tally of results and no podiums were considered something of a failure, despite him largely matching his esteemed British team-mate for pace towards the end of what was a disappointing year all round for McLaren.

With his best finish peaking with a fifth place in India, it was announced before the season was over that Perez would be dropped from the McLaren line-up in favour of Kevin Magnussen for 2014.

Despite the humbling exit from McLaren, Perez bounced back with a move to Force India for the 2014 season, thus beginning his lengthy seven-year tenure with the privateer team.

Coinciding with an overhaul of the regulations, Perez benefitted from his car being fitted with a Mercedes power unit, which proved quicker and more reliable than rivals using Ferrari and Renault engines. 

Though closely matched with team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, Perez struggled to get the better of the more consistent German racer (who scored in all but four races) over the course of the year, finishing tenth overall to his ninth but ending up 37 points adrift.

Nevertheless, Perez did pick up the team’s best finish of the year with a run to third in the Bahrain Grand Prix, while he was on course for something similar in Canada but for a violent clash with Felipe Massa as they entered the final lap to put them out of the race.

Sergio Perez

For 2015 Perez turned the tables on Hulkenberg by out-scoring his team-mate comfortably by 20 points, peaking with an eye-catching drive to third position in the Russian Grand Prix, prompted by an unusually early pit-stop hauling him up the order during a safety car period before conserving his tyres to resist all comers behind him to the flag.

It cemented a strong end to the year for Perez with top five top six results from the latter nine races to secure him a career-best ninth in the final reckoning.

Sergio Perez

With Force India turning heads with the launch of the nostril-flared VJM09 in 2016, the car proved uncompetitive during pre-season testing and the early rounds, forcing the team back to the drawing board before launching a significant upgrade from Round 4 in Spain. 

The gamble worked with the car proving instantly faster, leading to a podium in tricky conditions in Monaco before he produced a career-best drive to third in Baku from seventh on the grid having been quick enough to secure a front row start outright but for a gearbox change penalty, the legacy of a crash in free practice. 

Demonstrating impressive consistency thereafter, Perez added top six results at Spa, Sepang and Interlagos to end the year seventh overall.

29.10.2017 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM010

Entering into his fourth season with Force India, Perez would once again prove a master of consistency that earmarked him as the best of the midfielders despite precocious new competition from within courtesy of new team-mate Esteban Ocon.

A run of top ten results from the opening races - extending a streak of 17 points-scoring results - ended at the Monaco Grand Prix, before the first of two flashpoints involving Ocon threatened to destabilise the Force India team. The first came in Baku when Perez and Ocon collided in the melee after a safety car period while they disputed third place, before the pair touched during the Belgian Grand Prix on the high-speed run to Eau Rouge. 

On both occasions Perez was forced to retire, which together with a fall-out in Canada over the Mexican’s refusal to cede a position to the ‘faster’ Frenchman led to a war of words and the enforcing of team orders.

Despite the simmering tension, it was Perez that came out on top of a close battle between the pair, ending the year seventh overall once again, 

16.09.2018 - Race, Esteban Ocon (FRA) Racing Point Force India F1 VJM11 and Sergio Perez (MEX) Racing Point Force India F1 VJM11

Though it was clear early on in the year Force India was struggling financially, it continued to produce impressive and competitive machinery on a meagre budget compared with its midfield rivals.

Moreover, Perez was more often than not able to extract the best from unpredictable races, most notably in Baku when - after a run of three non-scoring finishes - he claimed another podium in a topsy-turvy race.

By mid-season though it appeared Force India wouldn’t be able to see out the year, with a winding-up order being sought during the Hungarian Grand Prix that would have seen the team forced to close its doors for good. Nevertheless, creditors - of which Perez was included - instead launched legal action, which had the effect of placing Force India into administration, thus safeguarding jobs in the short-term and buying it time to find an investor.

This came in the form of Lawrence Stroll - father of then Williams driver Lance Stroll - who led a consortium to purchase the team. Rebranding it Racing Point, the mid-season change of name on the entry cost it its constructors’ points, but enabled Perez (and Ocon) to retain their points as their individual results are not defined by which team they are driving for.

Confirmed to the end of the year, Perez impressed the new owners with a run to fifth on Racing Point’s “debut” in Belgium, helping him to eighth in the final standings, while Racing Point recovered to seventh in the constructors’ despite in effect only competing in seven events.

15.11.2019 - Free Practice 2, Sergio Perez (MEX) Racing Point F1 Team RP19

Retaining his seat over Ocon as Stroll (Lance) assumed the sister car, fresh investment from the new owners would see Perez enjoy another positive campaign in what was otherwise a competitive midfield. 

Bookending a mid-season lull of eight non-scoring races with sixths in Azerbaijan and Belgium, a strong run of top ten results lifted Perez back up into the top ten overall for the sixth consecutive season. 

Race winner Sergio Perez (MEX) Racing Point F1 Team RP19 celebrates in parc ferme.

Coming into the 2020 F1 season with renewed vigour after the controversial Racing Point RP20 - which bore a striking similarity with the 2019 F1 title-winning W10 campaigned by its technical partners Mercedes - emerged as arguably the third quickest car behind Mercedes and Red Bull in pre-season testing, even the long delay to get proceedings underway didn’t dent the team’s momentum. 

Not that it was an easy start to the year for Perez in particular. After failing to get the best from the rapid package initially, he was then forced to sit out two races after contracting COVID, while his Racing Point team were rebuked for its copycat Mercedes design by the FIA and docked 15 constructors’ points as punishment.

However, on return to action Perez was a more solid contender and with both Ferraris and the Red Bull of Alex Albon failing to shine, he found himself locked in a battle for ‘best of the rest’ in fourth with Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) and Carlos Sainz (McLaren).

It was Perez’s greater consistency that would prevail though, reeling off five top six results from eight races mid-season before climbing on the podium again with a run to second position in the Turkish Grand Prix.

However, this was simply a precursor for one of F1’s most famous - and long-awaited - maiden victories in the Sakhir Grand Prix when the cards finally fell his way to reel off a spectacular win. 

He was made to work hard for it though, Perez spinning on the opening lap, leaving him at the back of the field. However, the combination of a savvy pit-stop strategy and a touch of luck when both Mercedes out front fell foul of pit-stop errors would see him inherit a lead on lap 64 he’d take to the flag on lap 87.

Ending a remarkable wait after 191 races - more than any other driver in the history of F1 - it also came with the bonus of him securing the team’s first win (either as Racing Point or Force India), as well as a career-best fourth in the standings.

And yet, despite his success, Perez went into the winter without knowing whether he’d even race in 2021 after it was announced earlier in the season he’d be dropped by the team as it morphed into a Aston Martin factory effort. 

With the iconic British marque seeking a ‘big name’ for its debut, the availability of an out-of-form but still revered four-time champion in Sebastian Vettel saw it plump for the German alongside Lance Stroll, who despite being roundly out-performed by Perez, remained by virtue of his father’s ownership of both the team and stake in Aston Martin

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Sergio Perez (MEX), Red Bull Racing

For the first time in his F1 career, Perez finally had a car capable of challenging for regular grand prix victories and podiums. 

Adapting to the Red Bull was always going to be tricky for Perez but a front row start at Imola and his first win in Red Bull colours showed he was already an upgrade on his predecessors Albon and Pierre Gasly. 

After a mid-season slump, Perez found his form again as Red Bull became a serious threat in both championships. While he didn't have the pace of Mercedes' second driver Valtteri Bottas, his impressive wheel-to-wheel combat and defence proved to be a useful tool that aided Verstappen's title hunt against Hamilton. 

His remarkable defensive tactics at the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ensured Hamilton didn't have a big enough gap to pit under a potential Safety Car - which did occur in the closing laps - and still come out ahead. Verstappen did pit and the rest is history, he went on to win his maiden title and a lot of that has to go down to Perez.

For 2022, Perez will have to take a leap forward in outright performance, particularly if the field is even tighter. 

Sergio Perez (MEX), Red Bull Racing

A poor first year with Red Bull, Perez was clearly more comfortable with the RB18, taking his maiden pole position at Jeddah.

He followed that up with wins in Monaco and Singapore, before securing his best championship finish of third in Abu Dhabi, losing out to Charles Leclerc. 

Like Bottas during his time with Mercedes, Perez remains a key member of the Red Bull outfit, particularly on race day and in wheel-to-wheel combat against their main rivals.

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