Sergio Perez has driven for a varied collection of Formula 1 teams but none of them come close to the “perfection” of his current employers Red Bull.
The Mexican veteran began his F1 journey at the 2011 Australian Grand Prix, impressing enough during the two years with the team that a Ferrari drive was looming for a driver that was part of Maranello’s young driver programme.
But along came McLaren, a superpower of a team, seeking to replace Mercedes-bound Lewis Hamilton, they made Perez an offer he could not refuse. But it was a bad call as McLaren was in turmoil with Ron Dennis’ downfall ongoing.
By the end of the season, Perez was fired after a single season at Woking With big Mexican backing he was a fine fit at Vijay Mallya’s Force India always struggling financially while performing well beyond their means.
Perez, meanwhile, getting firsthand insight into how the other half lived, namely a bullish billionaire planning huge things, for what is now Aston Martin, versus one in steep decline, pursued by the Indian government.
Perez: I am certainly happy to be part of this Red Bull
Now in his second year at Red Bull, the novelty factor far less intense than last year, Checo is well positioned to compare his previous rides to Max Verstappen’s team: “The most important lesson is the level of perfection that the team is looking for every weekend.
“When we win a race, there are still so many things we can do better. We are always pushing and always looking to the limit and Red Bull is unique in that.”
“Red Bull is different from every other team. Of course, every team is different and has good and bad things, but I am certainly happy to be part of this Red Bull,” Perez told RacingNews365.
While Verstappen remains hard to catch let alone match or beat, Perez has been his best wingman which suggests that by shopping outside their driver pool, opting on experience instead is paying dividends for the energy drinks outfit.
Ahead of the 2022 F1 championship second leg opening Belgian Grand Prix, Round 14 of the season, Verstappen leads the standings by 80 points from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on 178 points and Perez on 173; Red Bull, on 431 points, top the constructors’ championship table by 97 points over Ferrari.
No surprise that at Monaco he inked an extension with the team that sees him alongside Max untial at least through to 2024.
Alesi: To have a teammate like Verstappen I’m sure it’s not easy
Perez, who for too long lived a year-by-year existence in F1, appreciates the confidence shown by his team: “It’s nice to have that continuity with Red Bull. To be able to work with the team in the longer term is something I’ve really been looking for in recent years. So it’s a big plus to have that.”
According to former Ferrari driver and F1 paddock permanent fixture, Jean Alesi, Perez’s performances teamed up against arguably the best driver of this current era are improving all the time: “This year I’ve been very impressed with Checo.
“To have a teammate like Verstappen I’m sure it’s not easy. All the new circuits we have, like Miami, you see the first lap times and Max is nearly always faster than his teammates and for a driver when your teammate, with the same car, is able to make this kind of input it’s very difficult to swallow.
“But when you have the experience of Checo, he’s a hard fighter and worker so he is doing a very good job. So for sure there’s not a number one driver and a number two driver in the team, but they have very good discipline, and they are not arguing when there is a message for one driver or the other one, they just do it,” observed Alesi.