Sergio ‘Checo’ Pérez took to the wheel of a kart for the first time at the age of six but he was born into the world of motorsport. His father Antonio raced cars himself before managing the career of Indycar and sportscar driver Adrián Fernández.
By the age of nine Sergio was already racing in shifter karts having won in the junior categories. At 14 he moved up into single-seater cars, competing in the US-based Skip Barber National Championship with the backing of Mexican business magnate Carlos Slim’s Escuderia Telmex.
In 2005 he moved to Europe to compete in Formula BMW, spending four months living in a restaurant owned by his team boss, then at the age of 17 he relocated to Oxford for the beginning of a two-year campaign in British Formula 3. He won the National Class (for older chassis) in 2007 and finished fourth in the International Class in 2008, graduating to the Formula 1 feeder series GP2 via the GP2 Asia Series. There he claimed a lights-to-flag victory in his very first race, in Bahrain.
In only his second year in GP2 Sergio won races at Monaco, Silverstone, Hockenheim, Spa-Francorchamps and Abu Dhabi, ultimately finishing runner-up to Pastor Maldonado. Both drivers then graduated to Formula 1, and in doing so Sergio became the first Mexican to compete in the World Championship since Héctor Rebaque in 1981.
Sergio Pérez in Formula 1
Sergio’s debut season in F1 for Sauber certainly caught the eye. He secured three points-scoring finishes at the Spanish, British and Japanese Grand Prix, helping his team secure seventh in the constructors’ championship.
Sauber retained his services the following year as ‘Checo’ delivered once again. A fantastic eighth-place finish in Australia was the first of six points-scoring races. However his most impressive performance came in the next race, the 2012 Malaysian Grand Prix, where he finished in second place: Sauber’s best result since becoming an independent team.
Sergio would go on to finish on the podium a further two times (Italy and Canada), steering him to tenth place in the Drivers’ championship with 66 points.
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes signed Sergio Pérez for the 2013 season to partner Jenson Button in the MP4-28, with Checo scoring his first points for the team at the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix.