podium in F1
Formula 1 has changed a lot over the years. In an effort to have a lower impact on climate change, we’ve seen the way cars have been designed altered, we’ve seen rules changed regarding fuelling, and whilst some fans haven’t been happy, it seems to have actually made the sport more competitive.
But as well as new rules and car designs, we’ve also seen numerous new tracks entering the fray, and some old favorites returning. One track that hasn’t always been a staple in the Formula 1 calendar was the Mexico City Grand Prix, which has had many names over the years, but it’s finally found a regular berth amongst some of the top tracks of the racing calendar.
The track, which takes place at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City, recently had its inclusion in the Formula 1 circuit extended to 2022, although with a name change. That came about following sponsorship and support for the event from the Government of Mexico City, hence the new name, the Mexico City Grand Prix. And for the first time in history, it saw a Mexican taking claim of a podium in front of the home crowd.
That was all thanks to Red Bull Racing’s Mexican driver, Sergio “Checo” Perez. A driver who a little over a year ago was a free agent, before Red Bull picked him up, and who has since been in scintillating form for the team. Not just delivering big performances, but also helping to change the feel around the team by helping to create the “best team spirit” according to team boss, Christian Horner.
But how did Perez manage to make history at the Mexico City Grand Prix?
Going into the race, Perez sat fourth in the driver championship, after an impressive season that saw Red Bull climb back up in the constructors championships behind Mercedes. But despite his impressive form of late, betting sites across the globe didn’t have Perez as one of the favorites for a podium finish.
He looked sharp in the Practice before Qualification, where he finished fourth quickest in Practices one and two, before setting the fastest time in Practice three with a time of 1:17.024, just 0.193s above teammate Max Verstappen. But he couldn’t recapture that form in the qualification stage, and once again dropped back down to fourth quickest, putting him in the starting lineup behind Mercedes’ teammates Valterri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton, and fellow Red Bull driver, Max Verstappen.
Itr was an exhilarating start to the Mexico City GP, as Perez started on the second row alongside teammate Max Verstappen. But as the lights switched and the flags dropped, there was mayhem entering the first corner. Mercedes’ Valterri Bottas, who started on the grid in pole position, collided with another driver, which caused everyone to swerve to avoid a collision.
Max Verstappen managed to make the most of the situation, swinging around the potential pileup, and pulled into third place. Whereas Perez had to pull off the track in order to avoid being wiped out himself, and then came back on where he was neck and neck with Lewis Hamilton.
Perez managed to keep pace for much of the race, and defended his position in third very strongly, with attempts from the likes of Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly to overtake him. But there was a costly moment during the race that cost Perez time, when Tsunoda went off the course to allow Perez to lap him, however he wasn’t quick enough, and distracted Perez and turned him off. With Tsunoda blaming a lack of information from his team and officials to tell him what to do.
But Perez pulled through that tough stage, although was ultimately disappointed in his own performance when he failed to take Lewis Hamilton with a few laps to go. With a fresher set of tyres, he was gaining ground on Hamilton with each lap, and his best chance came at turn four on the final lap, but it would’ve needed something very special to pull it off, and sadly it wasn’t to be.
In an interview with UK broadcaster Sky Sports, Perez told them “I obviously wanted more but it’s a great result…it’s definitely very special. As a driver we always want more but today is a very special day for myself.”
And team boss Christian Horner also had praise for Perez, who made history as the first Mexican to claim a podium in the Mexico City Grand Prix: “He’s found his form the last three or four races and that’s just presenting us with so many more options. He’s totally in tune with that, he’s asking more questions from the car as well and I have to say, it’s probably one of the best, if not the best team spirit that we’ve had in this team.
You can check out the highlights from qualification and the main race just below:
<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/VCgGhL9SE4w” title=”YouTube video player” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>
Perez is a long way off topping the driver’s championship, but currently sits comfortably in fourth place of the drivers championship on 165 points, with one win and a total of five podiums to his name this season. And whilst teammate Vertappen and rival Hamilto are leading the pack out in front, Perez only sits 20 points behind Mercedes’ Bottas in third place, with four races left to try and steal that third place spot. But he also has to watch out for McLaren’s Lando Norris who sits 15 points below him in the standings.
His renewed form though, with Verstappen looking unstoppable for much of the season, has helped Red Bull in the constructors’ championship. Now only a single point behind on 477.5 points, to Mercedes’ 478.5 points. So everything is still to play for and looks to make the final few races very interesting indeed, with the title being neck and neck.
Up next for Perez and the other drivers is another trip to South America, where they race in the Brazilian Grand Prix, which takes place from the 12th-14th November, at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo.