How birthday boy Perez breathed second life into his career

26-01-2022 08:05 | Updated: 26-01-2022 08:58
F1 News
How birthday boy Perez breathed second life into his career

Sergio Perez turned 32 years old today. This brings the Mexican closer to retirement in Formula 1, but for now, he is still at the peak of his career.

The pay-driver from Mexico

The fact that Perez is the sixth Mexican F1 driver in the history of the sport does show that it is not easy to break into Formula 1 from that country. Perez has also had a long road to travel, moving to Europe since 2005 to force an opportunity in the top of motorsport at the age of fifteen.

With the help of Carlos Slim, the billionaire who made most of his fortune with telecom company Telmex, Perez made his way into Formula One after some ups and downs in the step-up classes. Despite a second place in the GP2 championship and a British Formula 3 title, the Mexican was still seen as a pay-driver.

Perez quickly shook off that image with a strong debut with Sauber in F1 and an even stronger second season with three podiums. He thus forced a move to top team McLaren but came to the wrong place at the wrong time. McLaren was just in the downward slide and, to be fair, Perez wasn't ready himself.

The hero of Force India

He got a chance at Force India, where in seven seasons he would grow into the hero of the team. Not only did he lead the team to great heights with seven podiums and a victory, but he also helped his team through a crisis by taking the management to court. That way all the staff kept their jobs and Lawrence Stroll could take over.

That same Stroll threw Perez out of the team a year later when he had the chance to bring in a four-time world champion, but Perez did what he has done before: he still managed to surprise people again. With his victory in Sakhir, he secured himself a spot at a top team in 2021, namely at Red Bull Racing.

Red Bull offers a second chance

This time the right team, because Red Bull was at the top in 2021 and this time Perez himself was ready for it. No unnecessary fights with his teammate and inconsistent performances. Despite having to get used to a new car, Perez did exactly what a top team expects of him and that gives him a second life in the sport.

Perez is not expected to drive to a world title for a while, but his exceptional performances have ensured that he is a valued force at Red Bull Racing at the age of 32. Whether the team will still be among the best in 2022 remains to be seen, but there is a plausible chance that Perez could stay at the top here for years to come, provided he continues to perform well.

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