Sergio Pérez is a driver who, it is fair to say, has been through it all. As Free Practice 2 in Barcelona concluded, Pérez was 2.164 seconds behind Valtteri Bottas’s fastest time of the session, an impressive 1:17.284. This is a huge time deficit and in no way a representation of the skill the Mexican has at his disposal but all you need do is ask Robert Kubica about the way talent cannot shine through if the car is not up to scratch. Kubica himself endured another torrid session in Spain finishing at the bottom of the FP2 timing screen with a 3.497 seconds gap to Bottas.
By reading the Twitter opening sentence from the profile of Pérez we are told: ‘The best is yet to come! Never give up.’
Sergio Pérez is certainly a man true to that motto and he has encountered many struggles that may make another less confident driver turn his back on the F1 circus – and not just the fact Netflix were eager to paint him as a villain in ‘Drive to Survive’. We all know of the McLaren exploits in 2013 and the unceremonious departure he had from the team.
Ever since Sergio Pérez was first announced to the world as an F1 driver (whilst a part of the Ferrari Driver Academy) back on October 4th 2010 for Sauber in the 2011 season, when he speaks, people listen. Pérez tells things how he sees it and he does not curb either his emotion or ambition. However, what the Mexican told motorsport.com may be difficult to hear for Liberty Media.
"I think what F1 has to do is to make this a drivers' championship instead of a team championship…Over the last years it has got worse and at the moment it is just a teams' championship, it is not a drivers' championship.
Lance Stroll is the teammate of Pérez and you would have to find a very loyal fan of the Canadian to hear it declared that Stroll is the better driver of the pair but the lack of performance from the Racing Point F1 Team’s challenger is hindering the progress of the Mexican…and the same story is said in other teams.
"There are fantastic drivers who will probably never have the opportunity to stand on the podium due to the lack of competitiveness that you get through your career. I think it is a fundamental issue and F1 has to change massively.’’
Many critics to F1 comment on the fact that races are predictable - Pérez is clearly also annoyed by the state of play in F1.
"Imagine how frustrating it is to come here knowing that you are fighting to be best of the rest…here you come and everyone knows more or less where you are going to finish. So that is something that has to change dramatically in the sport to make it better, otherwise it will be a massive problem for the future.’’
So, where does Sergio expect these dramatic to changes to come from?
"I am really looking forward to the 2021 rules… I don't want to be any longer in a championship that is teams related, so hopefully the drivers in the future can do a bit more to make the difference."
Those words are a warning sound for many and with the growing popularity and success of Formula E who knows if the Mexican may choose to ‘give up’ after all and be on that grid as opposed to the F1 grid. Many an F1 fan will certainly hope not.