Written by Alejandra Guajardo Lozano, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri
Sergio Perez, famously known as “Checo” is a Mexican F1 driver for reigning champions Red Bull Racing. Checo has been a big part of the team, and currently sits second in the standings, just behind his teammate and reigning champion,Max Verstappen. Perez celebrated his 250th Grand Prix start, at the Singapore Grand Prix, ever since he joined the sport way back in 2011. And what better way to celebrate it than to remember the best moments of his career.
2012 Malaysian Grand Prix
Taking a trip back in time, the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix was the breakthrough race for Perez. He started seventh on the grid with Sauber F1 Team. Perez was the first one to pit for full wets, while everyone else was on intermediates. The race was stopped due to the bad weather conditions, by then, Perez was already in fourth place.
When the race restarted, Perez gave it all until the checkered flag. He overtook Mark Webber’s Red Bull for P2. After a bad strategy for Hamilton, Perez led the Grand Prix for a few laps before Alonso overtook him. Perez fought to the end, and managed to secure his first podium in F1, standing on the second step of the podium.
2012 Italian Grand Prix
Checo managed to deliver another masterclass drive in 2012. He started the race back in 12th place. Perez stole the headlines on the day, securing his third podium of the season and showing an amazing tyre management ability. 20 days later, McLaren announced Perez as a replacement for the Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton.
2016 Monaco Grand Prix
Perez started seventh on the grid. When it began to pour on the streets of Monte Carlo, Perez proved himself once again. A great strategy from Force India made possible an overcut on his opponents, before switching to dry tyres earlier than everyone else, now achieving an undercut. Amazing skill behind the wheel from Perez, and this strategy took him to the third step of the podium at the end of the race.
2020 Turkish Grand Prix
With a challenging season, and his seat in doubt, Perez still managed to deliver results. His teammate Lance Stroll was in the spotlight, claiming pole position on Sunday’s grid. But his Saturday pace didn’t translate to Sunday, the Canadian dropping back to 9th place.
On the other side of the Racing Point garage, Perez delivered an amazing performance. He held back future teammate Max Verstappen, the Dutchman later spinning off the track as he chased Perez. Perez took the lead for a lap before to-be seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton snatched it from him. With aging tyres and plenty of skill, he managed to hold back both the Ferrari cars of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel until the end of the race, securing second place.
“Oh man. One more lap and the tyre will have exploded”, said Perez to his team on the radio as he crossed the line.
2020 Sakhir Grand Prix
The 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix proved to be a life-changing race for Sergio Perez. That year, Perez was under pressure, his future being at risk after Racing Point announced they were parting ways with the Mexican at the end of the season.
A few moments after the lights went out, Perez found himself in the worst scenario a driver could ever imagine. He was knocked back to last place after a collision with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc. Perez resumed the race, putting all his sweat, blood, and tears, gaining position after position with an amazing series of overtakes.
After an unlucky puncture for George Russell, who had to step up as Mercedes reserve driver, following Lewis Hamilton missing out due to COVID, Perez was leading the Sakhir Grand Prix.
After 10 years in F1, Sergio Perez had won a Formula One Grand Prix. He had given the performance of his life even after being doubted and dropped by his current team. Even if he didn’t have a seat for next season, Sergio Perez was a Formula One Grand Prix winner, and no one could take that away from him. An emotional day for all Mexicans, and joy for the Formula One community.
2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
2020 wasn’t the last we would see of Sergio Perez, as he was signed by Red Bull Racing for 2021. At the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Perez started 7th, but by lap 8, he was already up in third, ahead of Charles Leclerc. He led for a few laps, before a slow pit stop dropped him back into third place.
Max Verstappen, his teammate, crashed on lap 46. On the restart, Lewis Hamilton, who was ahead of him, locked up, and Perez took the lead. He crossed the checkered flag, winning his first race for Red Bull Racing, and the second of his career.
2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Perez managed to secure his first ever career pole position at the 2022 Saudi Arabia qualifying, after a blistering lap around the narrow Jeddah Circuit. Unfortunately, that pole start turned into a fourth place, having pitted before the Safety Car on Sunday, this opening the way for Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc, and Max Verstappen to position themselves ahead of the Mexican pole sitter.
2022 Monaco Grand Prix
It’s almost always every driver’s dream to win around Monaco. 2022 was the year Sergio Perez would realise this dream, claiming a win at one of the most historical tracks of F1. After an unlucky crash at qualifying, which allowed Charles Leclerc to take pole, Perez was starting third, with his teammate, reigning champion Max Verstappen behind him.
After the race was delayed due to rain and poor visibility, it was finally time to go green at the Principality. On lap 17, Perez pitted for intermediates. Following a Ferrari pit stop disaster on lap 22, Perez took the lead of the 2022 Monaco Grand Prix. Perez managed to hold back Carlos Sainz until the end of the race, claiming the victory.
2022 Singapore Grand Prix
The 2022 Singapore Grand Prix was probably one of Perez’s best performances. Perez led for much of the race, but the race turned eventful for him, when he was handed a five-second penalty for infringing Safety Car protocols.
“Let’s disappear”, his race engineer, Hugh Bird, said on the radio after informing the Mexican about his penalty.
Perez took this as his call and put in a stunning performance, managing to finish 7.5 seconds ahead of Charles Leclerc in second. After a tense post-race investigation, Perez was finally rightfully handed his fourth victory in F1.
2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
Probably the best race of Perez’s career, his pace being unmatchable on the day. After taking the second pole position of his career, it was lights out in Saudi Arabia, a circuit that had left a sour taste in the Mexican’s mouth a year ago.
At the start, he was greeted by a quick Fernando Alonso, who overtook him for the first few laps before he could regain the lead. Perez led comfortably as his teammate, Max Verstappen, recovered quickly from P15. Soon enough, Verstappen was second, just behind Perez. The Dutchman ultimately had to accept second, as Checo crossed the line with a gap of about five seconds. An outstanding performance for Perez.
2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
One of Perez’s favourite tracks, the Mexican showed absolute dominance, taking the victory with a strong pace throughout the whole race. Red Bull showed absolute domination once again, with another 1-2. Perez placed himself on the top step, and gave hopes of an intense fight for the Championship.
Sergio Perez has proven throughout his whole career, how skilful he is behind the wheel. With years of experience, amazing tyre management, and a strong mentality, Perez is currently one of the best drivers on the F1 grid. He might be experiencing a tough period, and being doubted by every media outlet, but not even that can take away all the amazing performances he has put on before. 250 Grands-Prix of brilliance, indeed.