As an ardent fan of Formula 1, witnessing the rise and sheer tenacity of Mexico’s very own Sergio “Checo” Perez has been nothing short of spectacular. 2023 hasn’t been and easy year for Checo and some have called his ability into doubt. In reality he is one of the top drivers on the grid and is just struggling with his form at the moment!
Post his initial stint with Sauber, and after a brief period with McLaren in 2014, Checo found a more enduring home with Force India. This team, which morphed into Racing Point by 2020, became his proving grounds. Checo wasn’t just racing; he was battling, consistently grabbing podiums and squeezing every ounce of performance out of his machinery.
Yet, it wasn’t until his move to Red Bull Racing in 2021 that Checo was handed the keys to a bona fide beast of a winning machine, nearly missing out on a seat in Formula 1 altogether.
With the Red Bull team, Checo’s stats have skyrocketed. Now with 4 Grand Prix wins, 26 podium finishes, a pole position, 9 fastest laps, and over 1200 points under his belt, Checo isn’t just the best Mexican driver to grace the grid; he’s an F1 heavyweight, known for his consistency and knack for maximizing race strategy.
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Let’s roll back the tarmac and look at some of Checo’s most memorable Formula 1 moments:
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – Maiden F1 Podium – 2012 Malaysian GP
Back in 2012, at the Malaysian Grand Prix, Checo was not just another driver; he was the man who dared to chase the rain. Starting seventh on the grid, he played the weather with the expertise of a seasoned meteorologist, being the first to switch to full wets.
This pivotal decision, paired with his raw talent, saw him slicing through the field. After a suspense-filled pause due to the storm, Checo returned to the fray, overtaking seasoned champs and, for a moment, leading the race.
Despite a minor slip that cost him the win, he secured an electrifying second place, solidifying his reputation as F1’s rising star.
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – 2012 Italian GP
Monza 2012 was a testament to Checo’s prowess. Starting 12th, he masterfully managed his Pirelli tyres, making them last, pushing them harder and further than seemed possible.
His strategy was impeccable, his driving sublime, overtaking World Champions to claim an astounding second place – all in a car that was never pegged for the podium. This performance wasn’t just good; it was a revelation.
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – 2014 Bahrain GP
2014 brought a fresh start for Checo with Force India. At the Bahrain Grand Prix, he wasn’t just driving; he was soaring, securing an impressive third place.
This wasn’t just a podium; it was a comeback, a redemption, a statement that Checo was here to stay.
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – 2016 European GP
Baku has always been Checo’s playground. Despite a gearbox penalty dropping him to seventh, he charged through the urban battleground, managing his tyres with the skill of a magician to clinch third.
It wasn’t just a podium finish; it was a performance that sang of tire mastery and strategic genius.
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – 2016 Monaco GP
In the glamorous streets of Monaco, under pouring rain, Checo showcased a masterclass in strategy. Holding his nerve, making the right calls on tyres, and outsmarting the field, he climbed to a third-place finish.
This podium wasn’t just about driving; it was about out-thinking and out-playing at every turn.
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – 2018 Azerbaijan GP
The 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix was a whirlwind of chaos, with Checo delivering a drive that was nothing short of a tactical masterpiece.
Starting eighth and facing setbacks early on, he kept his cool amidst the pandemonium, clinching an unexpected but wholly deserved third place.
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – 2019 Abu Dhabi GP
The 2019 season finale saw Checo execute a move so audacious, so perfectly timed, that it not only secured him the position over Lando Norris but also catapulted him up the championship standings.
This wasn’t just overtaking; it was art at high speed.
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – 2020 Turkish GP
The rain-soaked 2020 Turkish GP was less a race and more a battle against the elements. Checo stood tall, outlasting and out-racing the field to take a sensational second place.
This wasn’t just about keeping the car on the track; it was about Checo proving he could take the fight to the very top.
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – 2020 Sakhir GP
Checo’s maiden victory at the Sakhir Grand Prix wasn’t just a win; it was the culmination of a decade of perseverance, skill, and undying passion for the sport.
Coming from last to first, Checo didn’t just drive; he inspired, showing the world the heart of a true racer.
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – 2021 Bahrain GP
His debut with Red Bull in the 2021 Bahrain GP could have been a disaster when a technical issue demoted him to start from the pits. But Checo, in true gladiator form, clawed back through the field to finish an astonishing fifth.
This wasn’t just a recovery; it was a declaration that Checo and Red Bull were a force to be reckoned with.
First Red Bull Victory – 2021 Azerbaijan G
Baku proved once again to be the backdrop for Checo’s heroics. With a mix of fortune and sheer skill, he clinched his first victory for Red Bull, not just crossing the finish line but stamping his authority as a front-running maestro.
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – Defensive Master – 2021 Abu Dhabi GP
During the nail-biting season finale in Abu Dhabi, Checo wasn’t just defending his position; he was defending a championship, playing a pivotal role in teammate Verstappen’s title victory. His defense against Hamilton was not just driving; it was warfare on wheels.
Breaking the Pole Position Curse – 2022 Saudi Arabia GP
Claiming his first pole position in Jeddah, Checo didn’t just break his no-pole streak; he shattered it with a lap that left the paddock in awe. This was a moment of triumph, a sweet spot in an illustrious career.
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – 2022 Monaco GP
The 2022 Monaco Grand Prix saw Checo not only surviving the chaos but thriving in it, seizing victory at F1’s crown jewel event. It wasn’t just a win; it was a legacy being etched into the storied streets of Monte Carlo.
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – Dominance in the Rain – 2022 Singapore GP
Singapore’s 2022 night race, under the rain and lights, became Checo’s stage. Leading from the front, he didn’t just win; he owned the night, delivering a masterclass in wet-weather racing.
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – Bahrain Grand Prix 2023
Sergio Perez clinched a podium finish at the Bahrain Grand Prix, securing second place behind his teammate Max Verstappen.
The Red Bull Racing duo demonstrated their team’s dominance in the season opener, with Perez finishing the race 11.987 seconds behind Verstappen.
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2023
At the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Perez achieved a remarkable victory. He started from pole position and fended off challenges, including a notable attack from Fernando Alonso at the start.
Despite a Safety Car period and Verstappen’s impressive recovery from P15, Perez managed to maintain his lead and won the race, with Verstappen finishing second.
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2023
Perez continued his success in Baku, where he won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after a strong performance, leading his teammate Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to the checkered flag.
He capitalized on the strategic deployment of the Safety Car and managed to pit under favorable conditions, which allowed him to overtake Verstappen and secure his lead for a victory.
Sergio Perez Formula 1 career – Miami Grand Prix 2023
During the Miami Grand Prix, Perez was leading the first half of the race after starting from pole position. However, Verstappen, who started from P9, made a series of overtakes and strategically stretched his stint on hard tires.
Eventually, Verstappen overtook Perez in the final laps of the race, leaving Perez to finish in second place.
Sergio Perez’s podium finishes in these races demonstrate his skill and the competitive edge of the Red Bull Racing team in the 2023 Formula 1 season. Each race brought different challenges and dynamics, with Perez showing resilience and racing acumen, whether it was defending positions, capitalizing on race incidents, or managing tire strategies.
In over a decade, Sergio “Checo” Perez has proven to be a juggernaut on the F1 circuit. He’s not just riding the waves of mid-grid teams; he’s steering a championship-contending ship at Red Bull Racing.
His tale isn’t just about the points or podiums; it’s about the spirit of a warrior, an artist on the asphalt, whose tire management and race craft are nothing short of legendary. Checo isn’t just racing; he’s redefining what it means to be an F1 driver from Mexico and beyond.
How did Sergio Perez start his F1 career?
Checo began his F1 career in 2011 with the Sauber team, impressing the paddock with his notable performances.
What makes Checo stand out in F1?
His incredible tire management, consistent performance, and ability to extract the maximum from his car set him apart.
Has Checo won any F1 races?
Yes, Checo has secured several Grand Prix victories, including an unforgettable first win at the 2020 Sakhir GP.
Which teams has Checo raced for in F1?
Checo has raced for Sauber, McLaren, Force India/Racing Point, and currently, Red Bull Racing.
What was Checo’s most challenging race?
While each race presents its challenges, his maiden victory at Sakhir, coming from the back of the grid, stands out as a testament to his skill.
Is Checo considered one of the best drivers on the grid?
Absolutely. With a wealth of experience and a track record of exceptional performances, Checo is undoubtedly one of the top drivers in Formula 1 today.