After success in the 2007 British Formula 3 Championship, Perez made an early switch to the GP2 series. The first season was difficult, but after his move from Arden to Barwa Addax (where he was teammate of Giedo van der Garde), the Mexican showed his true class. Checo missed out on the 2010 title, but his second place was enough to put him on Sauber's radar.
Debut in Formula 1
Nick Heidfeld's departure leaves a vacancy at Sauber in 2011 that Sergio Perez eventually takes advantage of. Prior to his move to Formula 1, Perez also received good news from Ferrari: the team from Maranello accepted the Mexican-born driver into the Ferrari Driver Academy.
During his first season in charge, Perez rarely scored any points, but still managed to earn Sauber's trust. A good choice, as it would prove in 2012, when Perez can battle it out with Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari in Malaysia. In the Sauber car, Checo came extremely close to his first victory, but ultimately had to settle for P2. He then finished on the podium twice more that Formula One season.
Goodbye Ferrari, hello McLaren
Perez's strong performance in 2012 left him with a dilemma: Stay with Sauber for another year as a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, hoping a place at Ferrari will open up, or cut ties with the Italian team and move to McLaren? Perez chose the latter option in 2013; one that will cost him dearly.
As Lewis Hamilton's replacement, Perez had big shoes to fill. In an attempt to make up for the McLaren's lack of speed, Perez drove very aggressively, but only finished 11th in the championship and was heavily criticised.
Goodbye McLaren, hello Force India
The choice to swap a future at Ferrari for one at McLaren, appeared to have been the wrong one after just one year. Sergio Perez gets a new chance at Force India from 2014 (after Paul di Resta is sidelined there) and the Mexican finally seems to find his feet.
In his first season with the team, he is still in P6, a year later in P5 and in 2016 even a fourth place. He does this together with Nico Hülkenberg, but when the latter switches to Renault Perez will have to deal with Esteban Ocon in 2017. That partnership is less smooth, but does lead to another fourth place in the constructors' championship.
Perez saves Force India from destruction
Sergio Perez finished on the podium five times in that period with Force India, before financial problems at team owner Vijay Mallya threatened the Mexican's future. Perez himself rescued the ailing team and put it into administration to avoid bankruptcy. After this the team was taken over by Lawrence Stroll (father of Lance Stroll), allowing the season to be completed under the name Racing Point.
In 2019 Perez was joined by the son of the boss: Lance Stroll. The young Canadian proved no competition for the Mexican during the season, who consequently failed to get the most out of himself either. It is to the detriment of Racing Point's growth that, despite a major investment, they are unable to make the next step.
In 2020 the team will do so. Racing Point copied Mercedes' car for the most part and it became known as the 'pink Mercedes'. Perez managed two podium finishes and even won the Bahrain Grand Prix at Sakhir.
Sergio Perez alongside Max Verstappen at Red Bull Racing
The victory helped Christian Horner and Helmut Marko decide the fate of Alexander Albon. The British-Thai has been underperforming at Red Bull Racing, so Perez, who has to make way for Sebastian Vettel, finally gets the chance to prove himself at a top team.
He would have a tough act to follow, as Max Verstappen has proven in recent years that his teammates need to be exceptionally good to keep up with him. This also seems to be the case for Perez. The Mexican has struggled to get used to the Red Bull Racing car after a long spell with Force India.
Nevertheless, he has shown on several occasions that he has the speed and is an excellent team player, culminating in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. His fine defensive work against Lewis Hamilton's attacks played a crucial role in Max Verstappen winning the world title.
Sergio Perez in 2023
In 2022, however, the Mexican needed to show more to earn a contract extension at Red Bull. He did so particularly in the first half of the season, culminating in a victory in Monaco. That strong start earned him a two-year contract extension, but as the RB18 was developed further, Perez's performance began to drop back.
Still, another win was on the cards in Singapore and Perez almost managed to beat Charles Leclerc for second place in the final standings, but in 2023, the Mexican will have to connect with Verstappen more often. He need not worry yet as he is safe until the end of 2024, but the arrival of Daniel Ricciardo as a third driver will add to the pressure to prove himself.