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 qualied 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