During his three-year tenure at Sahara Force India, Sergio Perez has matured into one of the fastest drivers on the grid, surprising the world of Formula One with a string of giant-killing results that established him as a leading force in the sport. At 27 and in the wake of his most successful season in his career, he can match the hunger for more success with the experience of six seasons at the forefront of the sport.
Born in 1990 in Mexico, Sergio comes from a motorsport family: having raced cars himself, his father Antonio was active in driver management. In this environment, it was natural for young Sergio to start his career in karting at the age of six, winning junior categories and quickly progressing to shifter karts.
A move to single-seaters at the age of 14 and the start of a long-standing partnership with Escuderia Telmex saw him take part in the Skip Barber National Championship in the United States; the following year, in 2005, Sergio moved to Europe to compete in Formula BMW.
After two years in this category, including a two-race stint in A1GP for Team Mexico, Sergio graduated to British Formula Three, dominating the National Class in 2007 and claiming four wins on his way to fourth in the International Class in 2008. A first appearance in the GP2 Asia Series saw him complete a lights-to-flag win in Bahrain and earn a call-up to GP2.
In his second year in the Formula One feeder series, Sergio won races in prestigious venues such as Monaco, Silverstone, Hockenheim, Spa-Francorchamps and Abu Dhabi to mount a title challenge and finish runner-up to Pastor Maldonado. His performance earned him promotion to Formula One with Sauber.
In his first season in the pinnacle of motorsport, in 2011, five finishes in the points helped cement his position in Formula One. Confirmed at Sauber for 2012, he claimed three podiums, including two second places, on his way to tenth in the Drivers’ Championship (66 points). Sergio demonstrated an incredible ability to extract the best out of the car in changing weather conditions, pushing eventual winner Fernando Alonso closely in Malaysia and performing incredible comebacks in Canada and Italy.
A move to McLaren for 2013, replacing Lewis Hamilton alongside former World Champion Jenson Button, gave Sergio vital experience of the workings of a top team: 11 points finishes, including four consecutive ones in the final four races in the season, set him up as a consistent driver, earning him a place in the Sahara Force India Formula One team line-up for 2014.
Checo’s life at Sahara Force India started in the best possible way, with a podium in only his third race with the team. Some memorable performances in Canada, Austria and Singapore among others, saw the Mexican claim 12 points finishes on his way to tenth in the championship.
2015 turned out to be an even better season for the young driver from Guadalajara: an impressive string of points finishes in the second part of the season, crowned with a podium performance at the Russian Grand Prix, saw Checo clinch a career-best ninth place in the standings (78 points) while propelling the team to fifth in the constructors’ championship. It was a memorable year for Checo, who also experienced the emotion of taking part in his first home Grand Prix in Mexico.
Things kept improving in 2016. An incredible podium under the rain in Monaco heralded the start of a strong run of form destined to last the whole season; a further visit to the rostrum in Azerbaijan and a string of ten consecutive points finishes saw the Mexican break through the 100-points barrier for the first time in his career (and in the history of the team) and clinch seventh place in the drivers’ standings, a lifetime best. It was a just reward for the talented Checo, who was confirmed for the 2017 season, alongside a new team-mate, to continue pushing the team to new heights.