Mexican GP: Home hero Perez determined to give fans something to cheer

For SportPesa Racing Point star Sergio Perez, there is one race on the calendar that drives his passion for racing more than any other – his home race at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City.

Although football, understandably, grabs the attention of most of the population of sports enthusiasts, for one weekend of the year, on the eve of the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) festival, fans are crazy to catch a glimpse of another hero.

Sergio Perez in action during Friday’s free practice for the 2018 Mexican Grand Prix.

“The race in Mexico is a hugely important weekend for me,” Perez is quoted on his team’s race preview. “It’s my home race and I always feel very proud to see Formula 1 back in Mexico. We’ve just had the notice that the race contract has been extended for another three years, which is great news for the sport and for Mexico. Everybody tells me how much they love the race – my colleagues, the media and the fans. It’s our chance to show everybody the Mexican way of life and how much we love sports.”

Having taken the chequered flag to bring home points for his team in four of the last five grands prix, Perez is confident of giving his fans more to cheer come the chequered flag on Sunday.

“The track is a pretty challenging one – especially when you consider we are driving the cars at a high altitude,” adds Perez. “It’s tough on the drivers physically and it’s hard work for the power unit as well because the air is so thin.

“I think the final sector is my favourite part of the lap – the fast and flowing section, which can be very tricky, and it’s easy to make a mistake through there. Because of the altitude, you have much less downforce on the car and the car can sometimes get quite loose through those fast corners.”

Despite the tricky nature of the circuit, driven at lung-busting altitude for 71 laps, Perez is counting on the extra puff of the home crowd support to put some extra wind in his sails.

“The final sector also has the stadium section and when it’s full of fans the atmosphere is like nothing else. Each time I drive through there, even during practice, I can hear the fans and feel their support.”

Sergio Perez laps up the adulation of the home fans on the drivers’ parade. Mexican Grand Prix, Sunday 28th October 2018.

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.