RACE DEBRIEF

    For arguably the first time in his career, Sergio Perez arrives at the Mexico City Grand Prix with a car that could legitimately challenge for victory in his home race. But the Mexican driver was circumspect about whether or not he’d give up a win on Sunday to help out his team mate Max Verstappen.

    Verstappen currently enjoys just a 12-point lead in the drivers’ standings over Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton with five races remaining this season. And Perez – who’s won just once this year, in Baku – was asked ahead of the race whether, if he were heading a Red Bull one-two, he’d move aside to allow his team mate through and assist him in the title fight.

    READ MORE: Verstappen urges Red Bull to 'nail' Mexico-Brazil-Qatar triple header as title fight reaches final stages

    “I think it will be a great problem to have from my side, you know?” he replied. “It always depends on the situation, because most of the decisions are normally taken during the race, during the heat of the event, so I think that depending on the circumstances, we'll see. But I'm pretty sure the whole team, Red Bull, everyone, wants me to win this weekend.

    “I think everyone is so enthusiastic, everyone at my team, the crowd – it's a very special venue for us,” he added. “We'll see through the race, but I'm pretty sure that everyone in this team... if there's a race they want me to win, it's this one. So I'm sure I'll have full support from everyone in my team.”

    SI202111030141_news 1.jpg
    Perez completed a showcar run in downtown Mexico City ahead of the race

    Perez’s victory chances look particularly rosy this weekend, with the Mexican on a two-race streak of podiums from Turkey and the USA – while Red Bull have had the fastest car in qualifying in Mexico in the last two editions of the Grand Prix.

    And Perez admitted that, whatever transpired during the race, his chief target this weekend was to perform well in Saturday’s qualifying session.

    FORM GUIDE: Which drivers are set for a fiesta as F1 returns to Mexico City?

    “I really want to carry on my form,” said Perez. “I'm feeling more at home now, with the team, with the car, and I really hope I can put a great Saturday [together]. Here, overtaking is generally very hard. We put a lot of demand on the brakes, on the engine, so it's always a very tricky race if you're not at the front. So I look forward to putting a good qualifying [together].”

    MEXICO: 5 feelgood moments from F1 history

    Perez, meanwhile, was answering questions in Thursday’s press conference sat alongside former Red Bull driver, and 2018 Mexico polesitter, Daniel Ricciardo – with Perez deferring to the Australian when asked how strong he expected Red Bull to be this weekend.

    TECH TUESDAY: With five races to go in 2021, which circuits will suit Red Bull, and which Mercedes?

    “Daniel knows more!” he laughed. “They've been very strong generally. So he knows more than I do – I've never been with Red Bull at this track...”

    “You'll have fun!” replied Ricciardo. “You’ll have fun!”