A storming season in 2012 saw Sergio Perez promoted to a top drive in 2013. His McLaren opportunity may have come too early, but the Mexican proved his worth as one of F1’s top-performing midfield drivers during seven seasons with the Silverstone-based team. Now a race winner, Perez steps up to Red Bull in 2021.
|Full Name||Sergio Perez Mendoza|
|Date of Birth||26th January 1990|
|First Race||2011 Australian Grand Prix|
|First Win||2020 Sakhir 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.
For the first time since 2015, Sergio Perez failed to finish as ‘best of the rest’ in the championship in 2018. After becoming a father over the winter break, the Mexican remained the team’s top points-scorer in 2018, but his younger team-mate Ocon out-paced him. While the pair reigned in their on-track collision count, Perez still managed to eliminate Ocon in Singapore. Singapore was the low point of Perez’s season, with him later earning a penalty for colliding with Sergey Sirotkin.
PEREZ IN 2019
For the first time since 2014, Sergio Perez slipped to tenth in the Drivers’ Championship and scored the third lowest points tally of his career; his lowest since his year at McLaren. But that said more in his team’s drop in relative performance than it did about Perez as a driver.
In the first half of the season, Perez scored only three times – at three consecutive races in Bahrain, China and Azerbaijan. It’s no surprise that the Baku specialist scored his best result of the season in the land of fire, with a sixth place finish. He’d fail to score again until September’s Belgian Grand Prix, where he took another sixth place. It marked the start of a run of great races for the Mexican, with Singapore – where he suffered a DNF due to an oil leak – being the only time that he failed to score in the second half of the season.
Despite Lance Stroll scoring the team’s best result of the season in Germany, a race in which Perez crashed out of, Perez had the better of his team-mate for pretty much the whole season. From the 21 races, Perez was out-qualified three times, and was faster by almost a tenth on average in each sector of qualifying over the season. Perez finished ahead of Stroll in the races sixteen times in 2019. His form this year reinforced why he’s regarded as one of F1’s top midfield performers. Read more: Sergio Perez’s 2019 F1 Season In Statistics.
PEREZ IN 2020
Sergio Perez scored more points in 2020 than in any of his other nine Formula 1 campaigns – a statistic made all the more impressive by the fact that he started only fifteen races this year. Perez was forced to miss both races at Silverstone due to testing positive for coronavirus. The highlight of his year was victory at the Sakhir Grand Prix – his first in 190 attempts, and a key factor in securing him a seat on the 2021 grid.
Perez proved to be a consistent points scorer once again in 2020, scoring on every occasion on which he finished a race. Two successive tenth place finishes at Spa and Monza were his only finishes outside of the top ten this season. In addition to his win, Perez also finished on the podium at the Turkish Grand Prix, equalling what was then his career-best result. Read more: Sergio Perez’s 2020 F1 Season In Statistics.
With Racing Point (soon to be Aston Martin) signing Sebastian Vettel in Perez’s place for 2021, it looked for a while as though Perez would be out of the sport in 2021. However, a week after the end of the 2020 season, he was announced as Alex Albon’s replacement at Red Bull for 2021.
SERGIO PEREZ’S F1 RECORD
|Year||Team||Final Position||Points Scored||Wins||Poles||Podiums|