The oxymoron 'Cold Latino heat' perfectly describes Sahara Force India driver Sergio “Checo” Perez, from Mexico. Undoubtedly the 26-year-old from Guadalajara possesses a lively and incensed on-track attitude, but he is also gifted with an utmost rational and detached mind, which translates into impressive performances. Definitely an introvert, rarely smiley, but on the tarmac he brings some flair and turns out to be completely different, revealing some unique features.
Perez started out in Formula 1 five years ago at Sauber, grabbing the spotlight at his debut in Australia after only one pit stop. In fact, the Mexican is a specialist at tyre management and as of today, he is still standing out thanks to this ability - and often allows the team to plot daring strategies in races.
Perez did not need much time to display his knack for on-track aggressiveness, going extreme in duels, disarming and rampantly forcing opponents off the limits.
Although he performs high-risk manoeuvres, he never lets emotions prevail and always keeps the situation under control, finalising terrific overtakes. Two valid examples are dated back to 2013, when he drove for McLaren. In Bahrain he managed to overtake team-mate Jenson Button as a result of an epic wheel-to-wheel sequence emphasized by a couple of collisions, whilst in Monaco he attacked Fernando Alonso and coerced the Spaniard to cut the chicane and gained the position.
Other than that, Perez's character is easily definable as a deliverer, always present when it comes to yield important results. He has collected seven podium finishes thus far, and the first one was a second place earned at Sepang 2012 after putting himself in the victory picture.
Lately this strength has been enhanced by beating Force India fellow Nico Hulkenberg, who has not scored a podium yet.
Considering team-mate battles, however, the Mexican driver was more desultory in the past. He was beaten in 2011, 2013 and 2014 but recently bounced back, exploiting the experience and maturity he has acquired.
At the moment, his best championship result corresponds to ninth place but Perez certainly has what it takes to emerge.
No wonder he is linked to top teams for his future career endeavours, because he certainly is an audacious talent which might be bound for glory through the right moves.
by Beatrice Zamuner