Sergio Perez took the lead from pole-sitter Charles Leclerc at the start of the race in Singapore over the weekend, allowing him to cruise to his second victory of the 2022 season. Leclerc had started the race on the front row of the grid.
It brought an end to a period of form in which Sergio Perez had struggled to match Max Verstappen for form while playing for Red Bull. Sergio Perez finished 104 points behind Verstappen throughout the course of the eight races that took place between Azerbaijan and Singapore. Additionally, Sergio Perez was on average six tenths of a second slower than Verstappen in dry qualifying.
During the same time frame, Sergio Perez finished in second position twice, while Verstappen won six races and finished in second place only once.
He has mentioned in the past that he did not feel as comfortable driving the RB18 as he did earlier in the season, when he was able to win in Monaco and was just 15 points behind the leader in the championship.
However, Perez also stated that he had the impression that “the media in Formula 1 makes it a lot bigger, maybe because I’m just Mexican and if I’m not two races in a row on the podium, then I’m having the worst season ever and Red Bull should dump me and all that sort of crap.”
Perez elaborated on his previous statements on Thursday, prior to the start of the Japanese Grand Prix, in Suzuka. He claimed that he believed his words applied to all Latin drivers competing in Formula One.
“I think whenever you have a poor race, or a little bit of a bad patch as any other driver, sometimes you can see that with the Latin drivers, you can hear a bit more criticism, where there’s only been a few races,” said Perez.
“It’s not like a year has passed already. You can see that other drivers have the same problems, yet almost nobody discusses it. That is how I occasionally feel about it. It seemed like that throughout the entirety of my career.
“It is important to call attention to that fact. But at the same time, I believe that it is the beauty of our sport, to have it combined with the media; we are a beautiful sport, and as a sportsman, you always get that sort of drive from here and there.”
After making his F1 debut with Sauber in 2011, Perez went on to have successful stints with McLaren, Force India, and its successor, Racing Point, before signing up with Red Bull for the 2021 season.
He denied that he had been subjected to any form of bias due to his heritage, but he did say that he had the experience of “occasionally not being taken seriously.”
Perez stated that “sometimes, people would say oh, he’s just a Mexican, and he’s lazy, his culture, and so on and so forth.”
“It is as if, simply due to the fact that you are Mexican, you are unable to compete with the very best people in the world. That was a feeling I had at times, particularly in the earlier years.
On the other hand, it is always excellent to demonstrate that anybody can make it to the top.
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