Sergio Perez is a Mexican racing driver who is building his career in single-seater competitions. Currently he drives for Force India in the Formula 1 World Championship. He joined the team in 2014 after spending two seasons with Sauber and one season with McLaren.
Earlier in a career, Perez was the GP2 Series vice-champion in 2010 and British Formula 3 National class champion in 2007.
The youngest national karting champion early in a career
Sergio Perez Mendoza was born in the city of Guadalajara on January 26, 1990, and at the age of six, he began to drive karting. Despite being the youngest driver on the grid, Sergio was regularly among the best drivers. Over the years he scored many wins, while in 1998 he became the youngest national champion in the junior category.
Checo (which is Sergio’s nickname) stayed in karting until the end of 2003 and because of his great performance, he caught the eyes of Escuderia Telmex scouts. After he has won many national championships, Perez also won international Easy Kart 125 shootout and proved that he was ready for another level.
In 2004, with a sponsorship of Telmex company, (owned by the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim who is one of the richest people in the world) Perez competed in the US Skip Barber National Championship. The results weren’t at the highest level and Sergio had to settle for the 11th place, but he picked some experience.
Departure to Europe in 2005
Moving to Europe in 2005 was a big change for the Mexican teenager. In his first year in a totally new environment, Perez was a driver of Team Rosberg in the German Formula BMW. He struggled a lot in his rookie season but was still able to score one podium finish, eventually taking the 14th place.
The following season was a step forward. As a driver of ADAC Berlin-Brandenburg team, Checo collected 112 points before finishing 6th in the championship, with the 3rd places at Oschersleben and Zandvoort as the highlights of the season.
Before moving to England, Perez also appeared in two races of A1 GP Series in China, driving for Team Mexico, but failing to impress.
Winning Formula 3 title in the UK
In 2007, Checo Perez moved to England where he entered British Formula 3 National class, as a driver of the T-Sport team. Talented Mexican did exceptionally well and won the title, scoring 14 wins and other five podiums on the way to the trophy.
He stayed with the team for another year but this time driving in the premier international class of the British Formula 3 and Sergio again did well. He was the championship leader early in the season but at the end, he finished 4th overall, with four wins in his books.
GP2 Series runner-up in 2010
When he moved to the GP2 Series, everyone thought that it was a logical step in his career. As a preparation, he drove for Campos GP team in the Asian GP2 and scored two wins. In the main series, as a driver of Arden International, he wasn’t so successful. After having only two podiums, Perez ended the season at the 12th position.
The following year was much better. He signed with Barwa Addax Team and despite too many ups and downs, he finished the season as a vice-champion. Perez scored five race wins but also had the same number of retirements. At the end of 2010 season, he was 16 points behind the champion Pastor Maldonado but was ready to break to the highest level of motorsport.
2011 - Formula 1 debut with Sauber
With a considerable talent and lucrative financial backing, Perez easily found a drive in the Formula 1 World Championship. He signed with Sauber, becoming the fifth Mexican who competed in the series and first after 30 years. In a debut race in Australia, Perez impressed by finishing 7th but both Sauber cars were later disqualified from the race.
During qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix, Perez crashed heavily but luckily wasn’t seriously injured. However, he missed the race next day and he also missed the Canadian Grand Prix. The second half of the season was much better. In the British Grand Prix, Checo scored his fist points in the Formula 1 by finishing 7th. Later he also scored in Singapore, Japan, and India and with 14 points he ended 16th in the standings, which was a solid achievement for a rookie.
Big step forward in 2012
Perez stayed with Sauber in 2012, to drive alongside Kamui Kobayashi for the second year in a row. That season Sergio made a big step forward and was established as one of the rising stars. In the Malaysian Grand Prix, he finished 2nd which was his maiden podium finish. With the 3rd place in Canada and another 2nd place at Monza, Mexican driver proved what he is capable of.
Unfortunately, he missed points in the last six races of the campaign but with 66 points on his account, Perez found himself in the 10th position in the Drivers’ championship which was a really good result.
A season with McLaren Mercedes
The Mexican driver had big shoes to fill in 2013. He signed with McLaren in the middle of the previous season and had a task to replace Lewis Hamilton. The timing probably wasn’t the best because McLaren wasn't competitive enough that year and for the first time since 1980, the team failed to score a single podium.
However, Perez picked points in 11 out of 19 races before finishing 11th overall with 49 points. The 5th place in the Indian Grand Prix was Checo’s best result that year but that wasn’t convincing enough for the Woking-based team and it decided not to retain the services of the Mexican driver for the upcoming season.
Joining Force India in 2014
Soon after he was released from McLaren, Sergio signed with the Force India team. He was teamed with Nico Hulkenberg and the two drivers did fairly well. Perez finished 10th in the championship, just behind his teammate, but he scored team’s only podium that season, by finishing 3rd in Bahrain.
The situation overturned in 2015 when Perez was the one who got the upper hand. Sergio again scored the only podium finish by taking the 3rd place in Russia and amassed a total of 78 points before finishing 9th in the standings, outscoring Hulkenberg by 20 points.
Two F1 podiums in 2016
The start of the 2016 season was tough after he failed to pick points in three opening races. After the improvements on the car were done, the results became better. Perez finished 3rd in Monaco and Baku and later picked points in 10 consecutive races which propelled him to the 7th place in the final classification.
Perez has been associated with the Williams, Renault, and Haas F1 teams but decided to stay with Force India in 2017. Esteban Ocon came as his new teammate and the season was marked with some duels between two of them. At the end of the season, Perez finished seventh in the points, Ocon was eighth.