#11 SERGIO PEREZ
A storming season in 2012 saw Sergio Perez promoted to a top drive in 2013. The opportunity may have come too early, but the Mexican has been ‘best of the rest’ for the past two seasons. Will his 2018 performance grant him another shot with a championship winning team?
|Full Name||Sergio Pérez Mendoza|
|Date of Birth||26th January 1990|
|First Race||2011 Australian Grand Prix|
Sergio Perez was born in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1990. The youngest of three siblings, Perez began his karting career aged six, finishing runner-up in a junior category on his first attempt. He went on to become the youngest ever winner of that category in 1998. Another four karting championship titles later, the Mexican stepped up to single-seaters.
In 2004, he found his footing in the Skip Barber National Championship, finishing the year in eleventh before moving to Europe in 2005 to compete in German Formula BMW. He remained in that series for two years, driving for Team Rosberg where he finished fourteenth in his first season and sixth the following year. A one-off appearance in A1 Grand Prix was followed by Formula Three in 2007 and 2008. In 2007, he competed in the National Class and comfortably won the championship. In the International Class the following year, Perez scooped fourth in the standings after leading the title hunt in the earlier part of the year. He competed in the GP2 Asia series over the winter before taking a place at the Arden team for the main 2009 season of GP2. A couple of podiums and a twelfth place overall saw him stay in the season for another year, where he won five races and eventually finished runner-up to Pastor Maldonado.
In October 2010, partly thanks to his sponsorship with Telmex, the Sauber F1 team announced that Perez would be one of their drivers for the 2011 season, becoming only the fifth Mexican to make it to the pinnacle of motorsport. Around the same time, Perez became a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy. Although the Sauber team were disqualified after, Perez scored points on his F1 debut, before a spate of difficult races and a large crash during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix left him unable to compete. He returned two races later and scored more points – with a season best finish of seventh – at Silverstone. His performances were impressive enough to ensure a stay at the team for another year, and in 2012 the Sauber was competitive. Perez enjoyed a fight for victory with Fernando Alonso at the second round of the championship, and more podium finishes in Canada and Italy. In September 2012, it was announced that Perez would be replacing Lewis Hamilton at McLaren.
Unfortunately for the Mexican, the McLaren team weren’t quite on the pace as they had been in previous years, and Perez failed to amass a podium finish through the whole of 2013 – the first time the team hadn’t finished on the rostrum since 1980. Despite some on-track battles with his champion team-mate Jenson Button, notably in Bahrain and Monaco, the team decided to replace Perez for 2014, with Perez eventually finding a drive at Force India.
Thankfully, Perez landed on his feet at the Silverstone based team, who were armed with the dominant Mercedes engine. He scored a podium finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix, and was consistent throughout the year, despite being beaten by team-mate Nico Hulkenberg overall. Perez was back again for 2015, relishing the opportunity to drive at his home event for the first time. The Mexican had the upper-hand over his team-mate this season, and took the team’s only podium of the year once again, this time in Russia. Perez improved to a career-best seventh overall finish in 2016, with impressive podium finishes in both Baku and Monaco.
For the first time since he joined the Force India team, Sergio Perez failed to score a podium throughout the year in 2017. The team were simply not on the pace of the frontrunners, and Perez cost the team a chance of a podium in Canada, where we saw the first signs of tension between him and new team-mate Esteban Ocon. Perez defiantly disallowed his team-mate a shot at a podium finish, before further collisions at Baku and Spa made the situation even frostier. Nevertheless, Perez’s year was as solid as ever, and he scored just one less point than in 2016 on his way to be being ‘best of the rest’ for a second year running.
Perez became a father over the winter break. In 2018, he’ll more than likely have an even harder time keeping Ocon at bay. If he can work on being a team player, he could find himself in contention for a top tier drive once again in 2019.
SERGIO PEREZ’S F1 RECORD
|2011||Sauber||16th (14 points)||0||0||0|
|2012||Sauber||10th (66 points)||0||0||3|
|2013||McLaren||11th (49 points)||0||0||0|
|2014||Force India||10th (59 points)||0||0||1|
|2015||Force India||9th (78 points)||0||0||1|
|2016||Force India||7th (101 points)||0||0||2|
|2017||Force India||7th (100 points)||0||0||0|