Checo Pérez gets out of his car during the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix AFP7 via Europa Press (Europa Press)
Checo Pérez is Red Bull’s employee of the month. He’s the one who works more for the team than for himself. Generous, patient and persistent. The Mexican driver could clinch victory at the Spanish Grand Prix due to Charles Leclerc’s retirement and Max Verstappen’s woes, but orders are orders. Red Bull privileged the current champion and Pérez took it well. The gamble was a godsend for the energy drink team, who take the lead in the Constructors’ Championship. “Checo is a great teammate,” admitted the Dutchman. Third place went to George Russell in a reborn Mercedes.
Checo Pérez has had a busy few weeks. Seven days before racing through Barcelona, Carola Martínez and the Mexican announced the birth of their third child. During the first free tests in this weekend’s Grand Prix, the Mexican had to cede the car to Juri Vips, the team’s promise from Estonia.
The Mexican had to start from fifth place after a difficult qualifying session. That wasn’t a problem for the Mexican, who is more comfortable from the most complicated spots. He was aggressive at the start to make up a position and it also helped that Russell, who had started fourth, passed ahead of Carlos Sainz (initially third). The Mexican’s goal was to fight for third place like he has for the rest of the season. And what a race that was broadcast.
Checo Pérez’s car in front of his teammate Verstappen, this Sunday ALBERT GEA (REUTERS)
Luck favored the rest of the grid as local hero Sainz lost control of the Ferrari on lap seven and went into the gravel trap. It was an opportunity to attack Russell, although the British refused him the door. Verstappen also went off the track on lap nine. Pérez was ahead of his teammate despite having to be friendly and let him pass.
Perez’s tire change came on lap 18 hoping to continue the fight. Further up the grid was a Verstappen with problems with the rear wing, the DRS, which failed every time he tried to activate it. The Mexican saw everything from behind and, faced with Verstappen’s frustration, urged the team to let him pass: “Get Max out of the way so we can overtake him quickly.” The engineer kept him in his tracks.
On lap 27 there was another twist. Race director Leclerc was so calm that the engine failure aggressively woke him up and forced him off the track. That presented Red Bull with a dilemma: let Perez through to fight Russell? Verstappen was asked to change tires and that gave the Mexican his chance. And what an opportunity.
Checo Pérez made one of his big maneuvers to fool Russell into a hole in the tarmac on lap 31. The Mexican increased the gap in front of the Mercedes until the Red Bull workshop asked him to change the tires before the end of the race. Verstappen, the world champion, had to change his tires again. It was on lap 44 when the Dutchman replaced the tires and from that moment the team’s order was already in sight: the Mexican had to let his teammate pass. “It’s very unfair, but it’s okay,” the Mexican said on the radio.
With twelve laps to go, Pérez had to fight for the fastest lap. The Mexican didn’t miss such a treat and kept the extra point. Double victory for Red Bull at the end of the afternoon in Barcelona and above all that Verstappen took the lead from Leclerc and the team is also in the lead. “It’s good for the team, even if we have to talk later,” decided the Mexican with the third podium finish of the season. Checo Pérez ended the weekend in third place (85 points) behind Leclerc (104) and Verstappen (110).
The Czech Perez 18
Guadalajara, Jalisco pride is unstoppable. Sergio Pérez adds his eighteenth podium in his Formula 1 stint. He celebrates two wins: 2020 in Shakhir and 2021 in Baku. In addition to six second places (Malaysia and Italy 2012, Turkey 2020, Australia 2022, Imola 2022 and Spain 2022) and 10 third places (Canada 2012, Bahrain 2014, Russia 2015, Monaco and Baku 2016 and 2018). , at the French, Turkish, United States and Mexico City Grands Prix in 2021).
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