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Sergio Perez Q&A: Time on my side to land top seat

28 Jul 2016

Having earned two podiums and 47 points - not to mention an enhanced reputation - from the first 11 races, Sergio Perez is rightly pleased with his season so far. But what does he think he can achieve in the second half of the year, and does he believe his performances will one day land him a seat at one of F1’s bigger teams? We sat down for an exclusive chat with the Mexican in Germany…

Q: Checo, when looking at your stats some sort of rollercoaster pattern has become visible lately: one race super, the next one nil - or almost nil. Monaco 15 points - Canada one point, Baku fifteen - Austria zero, Britain eight points - Hungary zero. How do you explain that?

Sergio Perez: Ha, I haven’t looked at it as a pattern. But yes - it looks like a fever curve! It seems we are unlucky in every second race - sounds weird, I know! Take for example Austria: I was en route to P7 when on the last lap I ran out of brakes, and in Hungary we had an issue with the pit stop. So ideally we should have been scoring points at these two races - but for sure in Austria.

Q: Hungary seems to be a very difficult track: from your six starts there you’ve only finished in the points once - in 2013 when you were ninth. Why is that track not made for you?

SP: Funny - that’s what it is. Because I like the track in Hungary - but I think it is a one-sided sympathy! (laughs) For one reason or the other I haven’t had the results there. Yeah, strange because it’s not a difficult track - not like Monaco - or Baku!

Q: Is it too simple for you then?!

SP: I have no idea what the problem is! The fact is Hungary has never been a great race for me.

Q: Looking at the season so far, what is the overall feeling that you take into the summer break?

SP: We have done a tremendous job - but it could have been a lot better if things had gone our way. But I cannot complain about the season so far. It is really nice to look back at what we’ve achieved. We have improved massively - and I can only wish that the second half of the season will be even better. But in the end if I can repeat the first half - with the podiums - I would call it a great season in Abu Dhabi.

Q: You always say that you still have the ambition to become world champion. In the last four years you’ve worked your way down from P11 in the drivers’ standings to the P8 you are right now. How do you speed up that progression?

SP: Wow - I have never thought about that! In the end it is being in the right place at the right moment. Look at the results so far: out of eleven races Mercedes has won ten - and Red Bull one. I think that says it all. If you are not sitting in a Mercedes you will not win the title! So it’s all about being with the right team in the right moment. And that is so difficult to get if we are only talking about one team. Time will tell if I ever get to that point - but I feel capable of achieving it.

Q: Vijay Mallya has said that he will keep the same driver line-up in 2017 - and that this is already fixed. Rumours have it that you didn’t seem to be of his opinion. Where do you see yourself?

SP: Actually Vijay is right. But at the same time I am a very lucky driver in having a very big group of sponsors behind me - and we will sit down next week in Mexico to discuss the best possible future. But I have to say that I am very happy with Force India. I am first of all very thankful to Vijay (Mallya) for what he has done for me - and all my sponsors. But let’s see what happens.

Q: If you say that you have a big group of sponsors behind you: how loud can money talk when it comes to race seats? Probably not loud enough for Mercedes - but there are sure other teams…

SP: Top teams are always looking for the best possible drivers. But I also know that I am in a privileged position as I have that support that not many drivers have. But to be honest: the teams that I am eyeing are not really to be impressed by money - only performance…

Q: …but money helps…

SP: …yes, it helps - but results help more!

Q: When Kimi Raikkonen was confirmed for another year at Ferrari he said that it gives him pleasure to see the dreams of some other drivers go up in smoke. Where you one of them?

SP: Did he really say that? Well, regardless of seeing Kimi’s pleasure having signed for one more year, it is only one more year - and time is on my side!

Q: If you follow your rhythm of one good race and one bad, you should score good points in Hockenheim. In the two starts that you have had here you have finished in the points…

SP: Let’s hope that Lady Luck hears that! Yes, I think this track should suit our car better than Hungary. Hungary is more about the car - so Toro Rosso and McLaren did pretty well - but this weekend it is more again about the engine. Here we should be clearly ahead of them and challenge Williams. As this race happens only every second year we don’t really have a reference as the cars have changed a lot since then - but it was always more of an engine driven track. Fingers crossed it still is!

Q: What are you going to do in the summer break? Are you going to be a lazy cat or a ferocious sportsman?

SP: First I am going to Mexico to sit down with my sponsors - and then for some days to Las Vegas for the stag party of one of my best friends. And then, to recover from that, some days in Vallarta to chill at the beach.