This article was originally written by Bonna Veenstra for GPBlog.nl.
In 2011, for the first time since 1981, we saw a Mexican driver again on the starting field in Formula 1. Perez signed a contract with Sauber and would drive there in 2011 and 2012. The Sauber of 2011 was not the fastest car on the field and Perez therefore did not really stand out. He scored only 14 points in his first season, where he had to miss two races due to a major crash in Monaco.
In 2012, Sauber was better off and Perez was able to show that he is a talented driver. The Mexican scored his very first podium in Malaysia and with a bit of luck that could have been an immediate victory. In total we saw Perez on the podium three times in 2012, but a victory did not come.
Switch to McLaren
McLaren lost Lewis Hamilton to Mercedes in 2013, forcing the British team to look for a suitable replacement. The team soon ended up choosing Perez, but McLaren was in a downward spiral. No podiums were achieved by either Perez or teammate Jenson Button and after a number of tough moments, Perez was dismissed after driving for the team for one season.
Loyal to Force India
2014 came and with that year also came the V6 hybrid turbo engines in Formula 1. Perez made the switch to Force India and formed a team with Nico Hulkenberg. Perez took the team to the next level and remained active for the team for seven years. In fact, many say Perez was the saviour of Force India, because without him it wouldn't have progressed as Racing Point in 2018.
Perez finally got that coveted victory under the name Racing Point. After 2019 was quite disappointing, Racing Point showed up in 2020 with a very strong car. During the Grand Prix of Sakhir, Perez was finally able to climb the highest step of the podium at his 190th attempt.
What will the future hold for Red Bull?
Red Bull could not find a strong teammate for Max Verstappen in the past two seasons, so it went against its own principles to look outside its own breeding pond for a second driver. Through that search, the team ended up with Perez. The Mexican says he will give his all for the team and hopes we will hear the Mexican national anthem regularly after the races.