Sergio Pérez is Formula 1’s most recent winner of the coveted Monaco Grand Prix, and he did it on a weekend where he was paying tribute to Pedro Rodríguez, Mexico’s only other Grand Prix-winner in Formula 1, with a special design that was a replica of Rodríguez’s usual livery.
In already his 12th season in the sport, Pérez has only been in a Grand Prix-winning car since 2021, when he joined Red Bull. Although he was a clear Number 2 driver in 2021, as the team worked towards providing a World Drivers’ Championship to his teammate Max Verstappen, Pérez won an F1 race for the second time in his career at the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Now, Pérez is right in the mix of the 2022 Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship after starting 2022 with a win and three second-place finishes in the first seven races. He could’ve taken another win in the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix if Red Bull didn’t order him to allow Verstappen to pass on two different occasions throughout the race.
Still, and despite not receiving updates in his car that have gone to Verstappen’s side, Pérez is only 15 points behind his teammate in the WDC standings with 15 races left in the calendar, and only six points behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who is second in the standings.
Whether the Red Bull driver will be allowed to compete for the World Drivers’ Championship against his teammate or if he will have the consistency to do so for the entire year remains to be seen, but the Mexican is certainly worthy of having a shot at the drivers’ title, as his career has been a bit underrated.
Perez first steps in formula one
Pérez entered Formula 1 in 2011 with Sauber, and only a year after was fighting for wins and finishing on the podium (three times) with the same Sauber team. He joined McLaren-Mercedes in only his third F1 season, but the team was on a downfall after Lewis Hamilton’s departure and was starting a run of almost nine years without even winning a Grand Prix.
In 2014, Pérez joined Force India and recorded a podium in only his third race for the team, with a solid third place in the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix, behind the world-beating Mercedes cars of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. He recorded podiums for Force India both in 2015 (at Russia) and 2016 (Monaco and European Grand Prix).
The 2017 Formula 1 season didn’t have a podium with Pérez, but he was tremendously consistent and was first on the standings behind the drivers from the Top 3 teams (Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull). He returned to the podium in the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix, still racing with Force India. He and the team struggled due to financial struggles in 2019, but the squad, now known as Racing Point, was solid in 2020 and Pérez took his maiden win in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain, in his penultimate race with the team, which replaced him with four-time champion Sebastian Vettel.
Red Bull kept Pérez in Formula 1 with a seat for 2021, and now the Mexican has renewed his deal with the team until 2024, because he’s earned it. Pérez is a champion in his motor racing career, as he won the British F3 Championship (National Class) in 2007, but his quest for a Formula 1 World Drivers’ Championship seems to be starting and his recent performances have shown that he has abilities to fight for it. Consistency will be key, but a driver with 19 podiums, three career victories and 1006 points scored in Formula 1 is definitely worthy of a fair chance to fight for the biggest prize in motorsports.