The official Formula 1 news outlet has published in its webpage a very thorough report analysing the performance of Sergio Pérez in 2019 and the numbers speak for themselves: He is the most undervalued driver on the grid.
Amongst other interesting info, the report reveals how the driver from Guadalajara was the one to accrue the most points during the second half of the season (Besides those of Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull). the Mexican driver did so in spite of only being able to take part in the qualifying sessions Q3 in a small number of occasions, penalised as he regularly was by the poor performance of his Racing Point.
Pérez, the study continues, made it into the points at eleven out of the 21 GPs in last season’s calendar, despite driving one of the less powerful cars in the grid. In the final classification, his team came in seventh, only ahead of Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams.
Another revealing stat is the percentage of time that the Mexican was amongst the 10 front cars per lap during 2019, which in his case is 43%, the best results amongst all of the drivers competing in the midfield. The numbers also highlight his significantly better performance on Sundays, when the points are at stake. This has earned him a reputation as one of the greatest experts in understanding tyre management and making the most of his rubbers.
Managing your tyres wisely is not only about keeping a moderate rhythm to make them last but knowing how to regulate the pace and adapt it to the particular circumstances of each moment in the race.
Amongst the most important achievements in Sergio Pérez’ F1 career are eight podiums, all of them with not very competitive scuderias such as Sauber and Force India. It is because of all of those merits that at the paddock he is considered to be one of the best drivers of the middle-class, a label that he doesn’t particularly like.
His racing rhythm and his consistency in the face of any circumstance make him a safe bet for any team. On top of that, he is incredibly regular and makes very few mistakes always extracting the most juice from the cars he has to drive.
The stint with McLaren which almost ends his F1 career
The worst moment in Sergio Pérez’ F1 career came the year he signed for McLaren in 2013. After having left everyone gobsmacked in his debut year the season before with Sauber, his fate took a turn for the worse. His performance went into a downward spiral which transformed him into a very different driver from the one he had been just a few months earlier.
The dream became a nightmare for Sergio during that unfortunate season which shut close the doors of other big scuderias such as Ferrari for him. Despite the setback, Checo kept calm and was able to continue his Formula 1 career.
After that, he has steadily matured and his growth and skill as a natural-born driver are obvious. He, in fact, seems to have forgotten that episode at the Woking team which almost pushes him into a different career path. Currently, he is going through a very stable career moment which has translated into his renewal with the team from Silverstone for another three years.
It is an unusually long contract length for Formula One, especially taking into account the fact that the sport is set to live a true transformation from 2021 when the new regulatory changes come into force.
It will be then that Sergio Pérez will have to face one of the most decisive moments for the future of his professional life. It wouldn’t be strange if he retires at the end of the contract period (2022) if his results don’t improve, at least that is what Sergio himself has insinuated in an interview with Motorsport.com
Sergio Perez´F1 best results
Throughout his nine seasons and within his four Formula 1 teams, Pérez has taken the start in a total of 176 Grand Prix. His best results have been eight podiums; three with Sauber in 2012 in Malaysia, Canada and Italy, and four with Force India in Bahrein 2014, Russia 2015, Europe 2016 and Azerbaijan 2018. He has also performed a total of ten fastest laps, accrued 581 points, and raced 23 laps (113km) on the lead.
Images of Sergio Pérez: Racing Point