This is the Part II of the series where we look at the battle of two young drivers. In the last part we focused on Paul di Resta and in this part we are focusing on Perez who seems to have excelled at the right time.
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Part I: Is Paul di Resta Overrated?
Backed by a major telecommunication company which in fact helped him through various stages of his career, Sergio Perez is clearly building a very solid reputation as he is all set to make a big change sooner or later. Perez like many of his on track rivals was part of many junior leagues before making a grand entry into F1. We say ‘Grand Entry’ because not only his major supporters reportedly poured in an important amount to his Team, but also the fact that he is the first Mexican to heap in few honors as he bids to lay a strong path to many aspiring drivers coming from that part of the world.
As we look at his career, We can say apart from talent certain factors also played a role en route to his F1 seat. Having started off with skip barber national championship, He moved on to Formula BMW, British F3 and also GP2 while also driving for A1GP for a couple of races but we can say his first major success was only at British Formula Three in the year 2007 when he drove for T-Sport in the National Class where he stormed the Championship having won two-third of the races. In the following year, having been promoted to premier class, He started off well but only to fade out as the season progressed. Fortunately for him, he managed to jump another category by being part of Campos in GP2. With two wins, three podiums and a fastest lap to his name, Perez managed to finish 7th in the drivers standings. In the following year, He moved to Arden International where he faded out in the standings by finishing in 12th. But in both the seasons, He managed to be ahead of his teammates. 2010 was almost a breakthrough year for Perez as he drove for Barwa Addax Team in both GP2 Asia and also the main series where he finished second in the standings behind Pastor Maldonado.
That was enough for a call up from then struggling Sauber Team who have been ultimately looking for someone to bring in the funds and that’s when a deal with Telemax and Perez happened. The start to his rookie season wasn’t a pleasant surprise with his Team being disqualified in the opening round due to Technical irregularities and in the following races, he had his own share of poor luck and with car failed to generate any sort of required performance. It took him 5 races to score his first point as crossed the line in 9th at the Spanish Grand Prix. In the following race however, Perez crashed into the barrier upon the Tunnel’s exit section at Monaco during the Qualifying session with the heavy impact forcing him out of the race in Monaco as well as in Canada where he competed in first practice session but felt that he wasn’t fit enough to take part in the rest of the weekend sessions. He competed in the Valencia Grand Prix but the real spotlight on him came at Silverstone when he crossed the line in 7th which remained as the best finish for him for that season. After a couple of bad races and a couple of retirements, Perez was back in the points at the Singapore Grand Prix. In all, he finished just 5 times in the points with a best result being the 7th at Silverstone. With the spotlight being shown on Di Resta, Perez still managed to get some praise for his performances over the season with the low talking point being the Crash at Monaco Qualifying. Also it’s important to say that Kobayashi did fare well during the course of the season by finishing in points 9 times. Perez however showed glimpses of brilliance after having managed to be faster than his Japanese Teammate on quite a few occasions.
Sauber announced a unchanged line up for the 2012 season and Perez managed to start off in a amazing note at Australia by crossing the line 8th with an worn tyre and after having to lose quite a few places in the final laps. Sepang 2012 was a breakthrough race for Perez and will have a special place in his memories. Alonso won that race but most important and interesting point being the second place of Perez which was much talked about due to his clean and solid drive despite the mistake in the dying stages of the race as he was on the pursuit of Alonso. Following that was a sting of bad results with three 11th place finishes and a retirement at the Spanish Grand Prix. Perez then returned to the points scoring finish with a bang by clinching third place at the Montreal. At Valencia and Hockenheim, He finished in 9th and 6th respectively and He currently resides 9th in the driver standings with 47 points to his name. But as they say the damage has been done already. With two podium finishes this season, The talk of his big switch to that Red Giant Team is on the rise day by day.
An Interesting fact about Perez is that he is highly superstitious and wears few lucky bracelets. But it is also an inevitable fact that the solid drives seems to be coming each and every time he races. He is setting high standards for himself and doesn’t seem to bother too much about the talks of big switch. Wonder how he will cope up with an extra pressure once he moves to other Teams. And unlike his nearest rivals, Perez actually performed well and might have achieved more then the targets that he would have set at the start of the season. With his podium finishes, It’s his teammate who is actually suffering from added pressure as of now as it was Kobayashi who was actually rated high and was unofficially the lead driver for the Team and Perez having stole the spotlight is still managing to outpace his teammate who hasn’t yet been able to provide a consistent performances as one would expect. The Second half of the season is quite an important one for Perez as he is currently the hot favorite for quite a few teams, although he clearly stated that he will see off the season at Sauber, He has to clearly build on the reputation that he has quite well generated. There is not much time before the big announcements would be made and Perez if he excels Kobayashi or makes a name for himself from here on, He would surely be having a spicy deal on the Table. After all the kind of performance he is delivering at every odd race couldn't have come at the right time. Would have been a different story all-together if this was the situation same time last season
Well it's really tough to compare Perez and Di Resta. Although it depends on various other factors, One of them is surely said to move to a Top Team. But whom do you pick as the 'Next Big Thing'..?