Whoever wins this weekend’s Mexican Grand Prix, there’s little question that the real star of the show will be Sergio Perez, who will doubtless be besieged by thousands of adoring fans at his home event.
The 29-year-old originally hails from Guadalajara, the capital of the state of Jalisco, and has always been a passionate supporter of holding a Formula 1 race in the country.
“The race in Mexico is a hugely important weekend for me,” the SportPesa Racing Point driver said. “It’s my home race and I always feel very proud to see Formula 1 back in Mexico.
“We’ve just had the notice that the race contract has been extended for another three years, which is great news for the sport and for Mexico.”
The Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez event has always been a popular one, having won four straight ‘Best Promoter’ awards at the end-of-season FIA gala prize giving.
“Everybody tells me how much they love the race – my colleagues, the media and the fans,” Perez agreed. “It’s our chance to show everybody the Mexican way of life and how much we love sports.”
The track layout is famous for its stadium section, and for the high altitude which makes it more difficult for driver and car alike.
“The track is a pretty challenging one, especially when you consider we are driving the cars at a high altitude,” Perez concurred.
“It’s tough on the drivers physically and it’s hard work for the power unit as well because the air is so thin.
“I think the final sector is my favourite part of the lap – the fast and flowing section, which can be very tricky, and it’s easy to make a mistake through there.
“Because of the altitude, you have much less downforce on the car and the car can sometimes get quite loose through those fast corners.
“Overtaking is never easy, but I think the best opportunity is into Turn 1 – that’s where we’ve seen most of the moves being made.
“The final sector also has the stadium section and when it’s full of fans the atmosphere is like nothing else.
“Each time I drive through there, even during practice, I can hear the fans and feel their support,” he added.
Last time out in Suzuka, a problematic qualifying session left Perez starting from 17th place on the grid. However he was able to battle his way into the points by the finish which saw him classified ninth – despite contact with Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly on the final lap.
Perez is currently in equal 10th place in the drivers standings with four races remaining in 2019, tied on points with Nico Hulkenberg and Lando Norris.
Racing Point itself heads into the weekend in seventh place in the constructors championship, and needs just five points to overhaul Toro Rosso.
“We expect to be competitive and to be fighting for points on Sunday,” predicted team principal and CEO Otmar Szafnauer.
“The car has evolved significantly over the last couple of months and Mexico City is another chance to demonstrate the progress we have made recently.”