The story so far: Sergio Perez

Published on 23 May 2023 at 13:00

Perez has been around Formula 1 for many years. The Mexican has been considered as an underrated driver throughout his career, earning podium finishes with several midfield teams. He is also know as the 'tyre whisperer', having the driving style to help save his tyres to extend his stints on them. Lets find out more about the current Red Bull driver throughout his entire Formula 1 career so far.


Perez currently drives for frontrunners Red Bull alongside reigning World Champion Max Verstappen (Image Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Entering Formula 1 with Sauber (2011-2012)

Sergio Perez would have his debut season in Formula 1 for the 2011 season. The Mexican was called up by Sauber in October 2010 to replace Nick Heidfeld at the team. A common theme throughout Perez's career will happen, as at his first Formula 1 team, Sauber announced a partnership with the Mexican's sponsor Telmex.


It was a proud moment for Perez as he became the fifth Mexican to drive in Formula 1 history, dating back all the way back to when the sport first began in 1950. He was the first Mexican driver to compete in Formula 1 since Héctor Rebaque in 1981.


Perez scored points during his debut race with the team in Australia, finishing in seventh place. He impressed many with his ability of saving his tyres efficiently, allowing for him to be the only driver to make fewer than two stops throughout the entire race. However, Sauber had both cars disqualified from the race due to a technical violation.


However, Perez was able to earn his first Formula 1 points of his season and career during the Spanish Grand Prix. The Mexican was able to finish in ninth place, ahead of teammate Kamui Kobayashi in tenth.


Perez's debut season was the season where the Mexican suffered a huge crash at the Monaco Grand Prix - that is well known today. He lost control of the rear of his car at the exit of the tunnel section, going into the Nouvelle Chicane. Therefore, the Mexican went side on into the TechPro barrier, suspending the session as a result.


The Sauber driver required help to get out of his Sauber car after such a heavy impact. In the end, he suffered concussion and a sprain thigh, forcing the Mexican to not take part in the race the following day. The injuries were that severe, that he tried to take part in the first practice session at the next round in Montreal, but couldn't. Therefore, he was replaced by Pedro de la Rosa for the remainder of the Canadian Grand Prix.


At the end of his debut season, Perez finished with 14 points, earning him a 16th placed finish in the World Championship.

2012 season

Perez enjoyed a much more successful season during his second season with Sauber. He started the season strong with an eighth place finish at the season opener in Melbourne. 


The second round saw Perez almost do the unthinkable. The Mexican was battling for the race win with Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso at the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix. Whilst hunting down the Spaniard, the Sauber driver closed within 0.5 seconds. However, he would then make a crucial mistake, leading to him finishing 2.2 seconds behind Alonso. Despite the disappointment, Perez finished in second, earning his first-ever Formula 1 podium finish.


Perez would take two further podiums within the same season. The Mexican was able to finish third at the Canadian Grand Prix, starting the race from 15th. He would then take his third podium finish of the season at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.


At the end of the season, Perez had a successful 2012 campaign, ending on 66 points, which earnt the Mexican tenth in the drivers' world championship.


Leaving Ferrari Driver Academy to join McLaren (2013)

A massive moment happened in Formula 1 at the end of the 2012 season. Lewis Hamilton announced that he would be leaving McLaren at the end of the 2012 season to join Mercedes for the 2013 season.


Therefore, Perez replaced the Briton at the team to partner with Jenson Button at McLaren for the 2013 season. This also meant that the Mexican would be no longer with the Ferrari Driver Academy anymore.


The Mexican did not have the ideal start to life at McLaren. He would qualify in 15th and finish in 11th at the season opener in Australia. He would then score his first points of the season at the following race in Malaysia, finishing in ninth.


However, the next race in Bahrain would be a crucial moment in Perez's McLaren career. Despite finishing sixth, his race result was overshadowed by his driving style, whilst battling teammate Jenson Button. The pair encountered a fierce duel, making contact on multiple occasions. This fuelled a rivalry between the pair.


After the race, Button described Perez as 'dirty', as the Mexican was swerving down the straight at 300 km/h. Their relationship would not improve throughout the entire season, leading to the Mexican leaving the team after one season.


New name - Force India (2014-2018)

A month after his announcement of leaving McLaren, Perez would partner up with German driver Nico Hulkenburg at Force India for the 2014 season.


The Mexican had a mixed debut season with the team from the highs of a podium finish in Bahrain to the lows of not being able to start the race in Malaysia due to a gearbox problem.


His issues with former teammate Jenson Button was still not resolved. In fact, the pair would collide during the 2010 Monaco Grand Prix, forcing Perez to retire from the race.


Perez's performances during his debut season with the team was good enough to earn himself a new two-year deal with the Silverstone team. The Mexican ended the season tenth in the drivers' championship with 59 points.


The following season in 2015 would see a gradual improvement from both the team and Perez himself. He would secure himself a podium finish in Russia, giving Force India their third-ever podium in their Formula 1 history. 


The Force India driver also had some solid performances in Belgium and Italy, finishing fifth and sixth respectively. After many impressive results, Perez finished ninth in the championship with 78 points, outscoring teammate Nico Hulkenburg by 20 points.


The Mexican had a good end to the season as he scored 63 of his 78 points during the final nine rounds, including fifth place finishes at the US Grand Prix and Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.


The 2016 season would be a reality check for Force India as their VJM09 car was not competitive at the start of the season. Perez would fail to score any point during the opening four rounds of the season. However, managed to score his first points of the season at the Russian Grand Prix with a ninth place finish.


Perez still managed to secure a podium finish with the team in 2016. The Mexican was able to finish in third place at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix in wet conditions. Then Perez was able to achieve another podium finish at the European Grand Prix.


Upgrades to the car propelled their 2016 season, leading to Perez's personal best result of seventh in the drivers' championship, finishing with 101 points.

New teammate causing trouble


The 2017 season would see Perez be partnered up with a new teammate in Esteban Ocon. The Frenchman was rumoured to go to Williams, Renault or Haas. However, he signed a deal with Force India for the 2017 season.


Perez had consistent race results throughout his 2017 campaign. However, this was overshadowed by the collisions he had with Ocon. The pair collided with each other during the Spanish Grand Prix. The pair would also have a moment in Montreal, almost colliding. Additionally, the pair retired from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after the pair collided with each other, fuelling hatred between the pair.


Perez finished the 2017 season with 100 points, earning him a seventh place finish in the drivers' championship.


2018 would be a less successful year, as overall, Perez only managed to secure 62 points, leading to an eighth place finish in the drivers' championship. However, the Mexican still managed to secure a podium finish in Azerbaijan with a third place finish.

Saving Force India - Racing Point (2019-2020)


The Silverstone team went into administration at the end of the 2018 season. However, Perez was able to save the team, followed up by Canadian Billionaire Lawrence Stroll acquiring the team for the 2019 season. This was followed by Canadian driver Lance Stroll joining the team to partner with Sergio Perez for the 2019 season.


The car in 2019 was hampered with the administration issues, meaning Perez was not able to achieve a podium finish in 2019, ending the season with 52 points, earning him a tenth place finish in the drivers' championship.


However, 2020 would be a colossal improvement from last year. Racing Point managed to produce the third quickest car on the grid. However, it had some controversy as it looked like he exact same as the 2019 Mercedes car.


This season would be struck with COVID-19 issues, which limited Perez from participating in the two races at Silverstone. However, the Mexican was able to achieve four podium finishes. Not only that, he managed to win his first-ever Formula 1 race at the race in Sakhir, giving Racing Point their first-ever race win.


After impressing a lot throughout the season, Perez ended the season fourth in the drivers' championship with a personal best of 125 points, despite there only being 15 races, which the Mexican missed two of those.


Moving to Red Bull (2021-Present)


A shock move happened for Perez at the end of the 2020 season. The Mexican had just finished fourth in the championship. However, he would be replaced by four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel at Aston Martin as the German was released by Ferrari after seven seasons with the Scuderia.


Many feared that this move would leave Perez without a seat for the 2021 season. However, Red Bull were not satisfied with Alex Albon's results during the 2020 season, leading to the Mexican replacing the Thai driver for the 2021 season, partnering up with Max Verstappen.


Perez's debut race in Bahrain was nothing but eventful. The Mexican qualified in a disappointing eleventh, but would then start the race from the pitlane after a mishap on the formation lap. However, the Red Bull driver was able to fight through the field to finish in fifth place.


Perez also managed to secure his first front row qualifying position, qualifying second and outqualifying Max Verstappen by 0.035 seconds at Imola.


Perez would soon after win his first race with Red Bull at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after a chaotic race. The Mexican would have some luck with a tyre blowout from Max Verstappen and also Lewis Hamilton's 'magic' issue going into Turn One. However, the Mexican was able to finish ahead of Sebastian Vettel to claim his maiden win with Red Bull.


The Red Bull driver was able to achieve another four podium finishes during his debut season with Red Bull, finishing the season fourth in the drivers' championship with 190 points. However, he was nowhere near the level of Max Verstappen, who won the championship.


The 2022 season would see new regulations dominate the season with the new ground-effect cars, producing downforce from the floor, meaning bargeboards on the sidepods were removed.


Perez would retain his seat and would also win his second race with Red Bull in a mixed conditions Monaco Grand Prix. The Victory earned himself a contract extension with the team until the end of the 2024 season.


 A much more successful season would occur for the Mexican as he would end the season with two wins and 11 podium finishes. The Red Bull driver smashed his previous points record, finishing on 305 points, earning himself a career-best third in the drivers' championship.


The present season in 2023 sees Perez still within touching distance of Max Verstappen for the drivers' world championship. The Mexican finished second in the season opener in Bahrain before claiming his first pole position in Saudi Arabia. The Red Bull driver would then win the race in Jeddah, staying ahead of Verstappen by five seconds after the Dutchman started the race from 15th.


Perez would also manage to win in Azerbaijan, showing impressive pace at the street circuits. However, Perez would lose out to Verstappen in Miami, despite the Mexican starting on pole and the Dutchman starting from tenth.


Perez is currently second in the championship, trailing Verstappen by only 14 points after five rounds of the 2023 season. Do you think Perez can challenge and beat Verstappen for the 2023 drivers' world championship?

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