Sergio Pérez lives his best moment since he arrived as a driver in Formula 1. Czech He is third in the championship, after four Grand Prix, he has linked podiums in the most recent two, but more important than that he has been a contender in each of the races of the year and he only lacks the victory to round off his work with Red Bull in 2022.
Czech Perez it is where Red Bull needs it and very close to where it wants it. The team requires him as close as possible to Max Verstappen, as high as possible from Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari and, eventually, why not? Also at the height of Charles Leclerc or better.
The Mexican driver wants nothing more than that. His goal has always been and even more so in 2022 is to be able to fight for the Formula 1 title, even beat his teammate Max Verstappenbut that is the most complicated of all.
For a start, Czech Perez he needs to win races, but consistently finishing in the top three will put him within reach of both Leclerc and Verstappen.
Then, and more importantly, it will be to see that the single-seater Red BullRB18, manage to be reliable and the dropouts that afflicted them in Bahrain (with Max and Checo) and in Australia (with Verstappen) are totally forgotten.
Pérez’s goal seems very ambitious, but now it looks more affordable than ever in the 12 seasons that the man from Guadalajara has completed this year in the Maximum Category, because, for the second year in a row, he has a car that can win races, which is one of the two strongest on the grid (in 2021 they were Red Bull and Mercedes and now they are Ferrari and Red Bull), also now he understood the car from the beginning, he qualifies well and, as he has been throughout his F1 career, he builds races solid and that usually get more points than might be expected.
It is a very long season, 23 Grands Prix, there are still 19 left in the season and it is too soon to make predictions or advance the day before, even with the 86-59-54 advantage, which leads Leclerc to Verstappen and Pérez, but a ‘resistance race ‘ may be the best alternative for Checo to be in the conversation for the drivers’ championship. You never know if this will be the first and only opportunity he has to win or at least be close and he must stay very close.
Today, the Verstappen-Leclerc relationship seems like that of a pair of good friends, but as the season progresses they will fight more closely for track position. Contacts are totally undesirable, but in motorsport they are, on occasions like these, almost unavoidable.
If contacts begin between what now seem to be the two fastest drivers on the track, Checo Pérez will have to be there to reap whatever the clashes cause, without forgetting that his number one job is to put up a lot of points, land, tenths of a second and as much as possible from the Spaniard Carlos Sainz, because the more he does it, the more chances he will have of winning races and that Red Bull wins the Constructors’ championship.
The laws of Physics in its impenetrability section clearly tell us that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time. If that space is the apex of a curve, the time will come when both Verstappen and Leclerc legitimately want to be there simultaneously.
It is fair to say that the duel Max vs Charles it doesn’t have the acrid tints, or so it seems, that the one they kept in 2021 had Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in 2021, but they are competitors and cannot make concessions. They will be clean, that can almost be guaranteed, but as the season progresses every millimeter will be more valuable.
Czech Perez it is also very fast and reliable. The best clues for him are yet to come: Baku, Monza, Monaco, Spa Francorchamps, Austin, Mexico. The important thing is that the bad luck of an anomalous qualification full of red flags remedied it in the Sprint and the race.
The two rips from Czech Perez in the circuit Enzo and Dino Ferrari from Imola they were textbook and teammate, another great strength of the Mexican, who never puts his interests before those of Red Bull and, not only does he not confront Verstappen on the track, but he frees him from the pressure of others or avoids have some contact even if it costs him some position, as happened in Saudi Arabia.
Sunday’s 1-2 win at Emilia Romagna is a powerful message from Red Bull, but anyone who believes this will be the pattern for the rest of the calendar will make a mistake. Track by track, Grand Prix by Grand Prix, the adaptation of the single-seaters varies. The 2022 regulation has shown us that what was dominant one day, two weeks later is not so much.
Many factors influence such as the new tires, the abrasion caused by the asphalt, obviously the characteristics of each track, if it has slower or faster curves, if it has longer straights and, of course, the weather that includes rain, wind and the temperature.
Checo Pérez came out safe from the track where last year he experienced a via crucis in the rain. Now, again in mixed conditions, but less extreme than in 2021, he only made a couple of mistakes, perhaps the most dangerous one between turns 3 and 4, but in order not to end up in the boat (as happened to Leclerc) he cut by grass and gravel.
Checo Pérez’s superpower in 2022 must be patience, not passivity. Be as fast as he can, qualify as well as or better than Max Verstappen. Start with timing and instinct, create a smart race step with the tires, but devastating for those who follow. In addition, his usual values: great passes, full of cleanliness and grit and resilience to return from moments of danger.
The phrase, motto or ‘motto’ that has accompanied Checo Pérez on his way through F1, now makes more sense, “The best is yet to come” and it will be some checkered flag, you can quote me and claim me if it doesn’t happen, but I’m I’m sure it will happen in 2022.
How to watch Formula 1 on ESPN Deportes & ESPN+
Watch all of F1 on ESPN+. Download the ESPN app
Don’t have ESPN+? Get it here.
You can also catch all the programming for many more sports and leagues on the ESPN family of channels. Watch ESPN | TV
Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access.