Sergio “Chico” Perez will reach 250 Grand Prix starts in 13 years in Formula 1. What were the best moments in those 2.5 hundred career starts?
Everyone can choose. Here at ESPN we’ve picked out 11, like the number the Mexican wears in the car, plus a bonus that couldn’t be missing.
Perez began his career in the Grand Circus in 2011 with the Sauber team, where he competed until 2012, when he impressed Martin Whitmarsh and took him to McLaren the following year.
He arrived at the Woking team that seemed like the best place in Formula 1, but it was at the worst time, as the team suffered from a lack of talent on the technical side and fell into a crisis from which it was unable to fully emerge. Escape. Until now.
He left McLaren and founded Force India, a mid-table team with a small budget but plenty of talent, a home where he spent seven years, even during its transition to Racing Point, when it was taken over by Canadian tycoon Lawrence Stroll.
In 2021, Red Bull realized that Chico Perez was left without a team and it was like leaving a bill lying in the street and not picking it up and the rest is history.
He has spent almost 13 years in the extreme category with six wins, three pole positions, 34 podiums and 11 fastest laps, with 1,420 points and just 31 retirements.
The 250 Grand Prix placed Chico Pérez in the 11th place who has started the most Formula 1 races in history, behind Giarno Trulli, who has 252 races, in 10th place.
If there are no setbacks, Chico Perez will reach the end of the 2023 season with 257 Grand Prix starts, being ninth in history above Riccardo Patrese.
The top spot is held by Fernando Alonso with 370 Formula 1 races under his belt and counting, followed by Kimi Raikkonen with 350 and Lewis Hamilton with 324.
Chico is the third driver on the current Formula 1 grid with the most track experience, behind only Alonso and Hamilton.
The Mexican has only missed three grands prix since 2011, two in his first year, after a heavy crash in Monaco during practice, and then Canada as he was recovering from that impact. In 2020, he was not present at the British Grand Prix, after testing positive for Covid-19.
Without further ado, let’s review Chico Perez’s 11 best Formula 1 moments.
11- Baku 2021 | Czech track
There is no doubt that Azerbaijan has a love story with Chico Perez. In seven races he had two wins, a second place, a third place, a sixth place and a retirement. It was in 2021, Perez was accompanying Verstappen and suffered a flat tire. At the final start, it looked like Lewis Hamilton would beat him at the first stop, but he went straight ahead and the man from Guadalajara took his first victory on the streets of Baku and also the beginning of his legend as the “King of the Streets”. ‘.
10- Saudi Arabia 2023 | Cadence to put Max in class
No one has ever put Max Verstappen in his shoes like Chico Perez did in Saudi Arabia this season. From first place, the Mexican maintained the pace of the race, and almost qualified, thwarting the offensive attempts of his wonderful colleague. Those were long ago when the RB19 was a car whose balance didn’t conflict with Sergio’s style.
9- Monaco 2013 | Override button
The year at McLaren has many things to forget, especially its result, but in Monaco, Chico Perez went out, in a brutal situation, to overtake the car in front of him with incredible movements. His main victim was his colleague Jenson Button, who saw, or rather did not see, the attack coming from the young man, who was then 23 years old, and who attacked him from inside the corner while exiting the tunnel. Boldness, youth, courage and carelessness.
8- Türkiye 2021 | Face to face with Hamilton
Verstappen and Hamilton went race by race, almost corner by corner, the most exciting drivers’ championship in recent times, with Chico Perez playing an important role as a teammate by making the Briton work overtime. The battle will continue between turns 12 and 15 and then the first turn of technical works, where the Mexican withstood the attacks of the 7-time world champion, riding a white Red Bull car.
7- Saudi Arabia 2022 | Ideal lap 1:28,200
The pole position of Checo Pérez, which although did not end in victory due to severe tire wear and a very unfavorable strategy from Red Bull, was the perfect return to a very dangerous circuit where the walls seemed to be closed.
6- Monza 2012 | The race that convinced McLaren
Ferrari had signed it to its academy, but after a show in Malaysia and a dazzling podium at Monza, where it extended the life of its tires almost immortally without losing performance, McLaren’s then boss, Martin Whitmarsh, was convinced to sign it. But not before receiving recommendations from Joe Ramirez and Adrian Fernandez.
5- Baku 2023 | Street Fighter
Max Verstappen’s frustration was inversely proportional to the power shown by Chico Perez in Baku. While the Dutchman was bouncing off the walls, the man from Guadalajara put the ground between him. A timely yellow flag prevented Red Bull from showing any preference in strategy, but on that day no one was close to being better than Sergio.
4- Malaysia 2012 | Almost victory and first podium
On that day, the world learned about the potential of the fifth Mexican to reach Formula 1 in history. The rain and a good choice of tires set off Chico, who was the fastest man on the track with the Sauber and was close to passing Fernando Alonso to take the win, but he continued to lead during braking, as is the case with slick tyres, and in the pits they preferred him to keep his place on the podium. Coronation, the first of his career in Formula 1.
3- Monaco 2022 | The prodigal prince
In the Principality, the street fighter was crowned based on a brilliant start and then a brilliant undercut to leave a bewildered and unfocused Ferrari behind.
2- Abu Dhabi 2021 | The “Minister of Defense” was born.
This is the most exciting race in Formula 1 for a long time and divides the world in two in terms of opinions on its finish. The truth is that in the build-up to the final act, where Verstappen hid the title that Hamilton already had in the bag, Chico Perez was a major actor, maintaining the race lead for almost three laps despite the Mercedes being far ahead. Hamilton desperately tried to pass him. “Chico is a legend,” Max said as the Mexican reduced the nine seconds between Lewis and the Red Bull driver to nothing. This has been criticized by many, but in the end it is part of the myth surrounding Perez in Formula One.
1- Sakhir 2020 | The first victory that saved his career
A special moment that Chico Pérez himself did not hesitate to consider the best of his career. Racing Point had already announced that it would replace him with Sebastian Vettel, and there was the unlikely possibility of signing with Red Bull, but they had not decided yet, but it was in Bahrain, on the short track, that the Mexican built the car driving the architectural work: on the first lap Leclerc collided with him. He fell to last place, and from there he came back, clearing the entire grid to take the lead. There was no shortage of final drama to see George Russell threaten Mercedes, on the day he replaced Hamilton, but Chico finally took his first win, signing with Red Bull, all on the same night.
Rewards | Singapore 2022 | “Mexican way”
A rain-delayed race with mixed conditions and only one owner: Chico Perez, who from the start overtook pole position Charles Leclerc and never lost the lead until the finish line, even with a 5-second penalty.
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