Latest / Interview

The First Time - with Force India's Sergio Perez

12 Sep 2014

Sergio Perez scored his first podium with Force India - and the team’s first podium in almost five years - with a sensational drive to third place in Bahrain earlier this year.

As Perez eagerly anticipates his first home Grand Prix in 2015, we thought we'd quiz the Mexican on a few of the other firsts in his life, including his first childhood hero, his unusual first driving lesson, and the connection between the first record he bought and the Hollywood Walk of Fame…

Who was your first hero when you were a child?

Sergio Perez: Ayrton Senna. I really admired what he was capable of. I was too young to see much of him racing, but when I was old enough I looked at all the recordings I could come across to see and learn.

What was the first Grand Prix you can remember watching?

SP: It actually was the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola in 1994. I watched with my dad at home and even if I did not fully understand what was going on - I was a bit over four years old - I understood from the reaction around me that a tragedy just had happened.

How old were you when you first decided you wanted to be an F1 driver?

SP: I was around 12 years old - and very ambitious!

When was your first big accident in a race car?

SP: It was in Formula BMW - at a testing day in 2006 I rolled over a couple of times. There was no one (around to help) and I found myself all alone - that was not a nice experience.

What colour was your first helmet?

SP: All white.

When did you win your first trophy in racing and what did it look like?

SP: It was a very small trophy. It was sort of gold - when you touched it the gold came off and some white surfaced. I won it in karting in 2001.

What was the first road car you drove?

SP: It was my dad’s car. My dad put me and my brothers in his Lexus to learn how to drive on the streets of Mexico - and when we made a mistake he gave us a clout. That’s when we understood that it is better not to make a mistake. (laughs)

Where was the first house you lived in?

SP: My family’s house in Guadalajara. But I really don’t remember it as we moved into a new one when I was still pretty small - and we moved to another one when I was eight.

How nervous were you on your first day of school?

SP: I was shy to meet all my friends in the classroom. On the playground, that was fine - but school, that was pretty odd, as you suddenly had to behave differently. It was good that my older brother was at the same school…

What was the first meal you ever cooked?

SP: It was a Japanese rice dish that I learned to cook from my Japanese team mate in Formula BMW. It was tasty and cheap - the perfect meal when I was living alone.

What was the first thing you did this morning?

SP: I always send a text to my girlfriend.

What was the first thing you did after getting your first F1 seat?

SP: I went to Mexico to announce it, and my family had been invited by Carlos Slim without me knowing so when I arrived we all met at Carlos Slim’s house. It was not a party as the whole day was filled with interviews, but it was a fantastic moment to see my family and supporters very proud of me.

What was the first record you bought?

SP: There isn’t one really. I am from the new generation so I download from the internet. What did I download first? I guess some songs from Alejandro Fernandez - a famous Mexican singer who also comes from Guadalajara and who has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

What was the first sport you participated in as a kid?

SP: Football - of course.

When was your first romantic kiss?

SP: When I was 15. My first girlfriend.

When was the first time you were asked to sign an autograph for a fan?

SP: It was in karting when I was quite young - another kid came up to me for an autograph and I just put my name on the paper because I didn’t know what to do.

When did you first taste champagne?

SP: When I was at the Skip Barber Racing School. Every time I was on the podium, beating all my ‘classmates’, I had a sip of champagne - just to get used to it! (laughs)

Which would you eat first - a piece of fruit or a piece of chocolate?

SP: A piece of chocolate.

What was the first word you said as a baby?

SP: I started speaking very late - my family was worried about it. I never spoke a lot when I was a child - probably a habit that is still a bit within me! (laughs) And sorry, I cannot remember what I said first.