Ser­gio Pérez

F1 Racing - - YOU ASK THE QUESTION - WORDS POR­TRAITS

After be­ing ditched by McLaren, Ser­gio Pérez landed on his feet at Force In­dia, where he’s tak­ing par­tic­u­lar de­light in beat­ing his old team

Be­tween the McLaren and Force In­dia hos­pi­tal­ity units in the cen­tre of the Sochi pad­dock, Ser­gio Pérez poses for a few pho­tos. He’s in a re­laxed mood and as the min­utes tick down to our in­ter­view slot, he pauses to ex­change a few words with Jen­son But­ton.

As he later re­veals, un­leashed from the shack­les at McLaren, he’s on more friendly terms with JB now they’re no longer team­mates. ‘Checo’ was un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously dropped by McLaren at the end of 2013, picked up by Force In­dia for the 2014 sea­son… and swiftly col­lected a podium at the 2014 Bahrain GP.

After ex­chang­ing pleas­antries with Jen­son, Pérez steps into Force In­dia’s hos­pi­tal­ity unit and we make our way out onto the sun ter­race. With a stack of read­ers’ ques­tion cards at the ready, he turns over the rst one, and we be­gin… Do you have fond mem­o­ries of Malaysia 2012, or is that the one that got away? Si­mon Lon­g­ley, United King­dom I have good mem­o­ries of course. It was my rst podium ever in F1, com­ing close to a win then run­ning wide. The con­di­tions were very tricky. But I have great mem­o­ries of that week­end and the re­sult I scored with Sauber. It was an event I’ll re­mem­ber for the rest of my life. What mem­o­ries do you have of the Autó­dromo Her­manos Ro­dríguez, which will host the 2015 Mex­i­can Grand Prix? Have you raced there be­fore? Bren­dan Good­john, United King­dom I don’t have very good mem­o­ries of that cir­cuit. The last time I was there was ten years ago. I was do­ing a na­tional kart­ing cham­pi­onship on part of it. It was a very im­por­tant race for me to try to demon­strate my tal­ent to the IndyCar teams.

I had a spe­cial li­cence in Mex­ico and I was 14 years old and rac­ing against peo­ple twice my age. I crashed with another driver in the race be­fore and they took my li­cence away. It was a big ght to see if I could race or not and we had to go to see the fed­er­a­tion. In the end they said no, but they did let me qual­ify with­out prac­tice and I qualied sec­ond. But nally, on race day, they took my car away. I tried hard to ght it, but had to give up. But that’s when my ca­reer took off as Car­los Slim and Telmex found out about it. They

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