Checo Perez is ready to take the podium at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit at Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2023

The Mexican will seek to repeat the feat achieved during the qualifying session of the 2022 edition, in addition to climbing the Arab podium for the first time.
  1. The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2023 is this weekend, with Red Bull Racing expected to perform well.
  2. Sergio Perez hopes to get on the podium at the Jeddah Corniche circuit, where he took the pole position last year.
  3. Perez’s record-breaking performance in 2022 helped Red Bull Racing win the Constructors’ Championship, and he fought until the last date for the World Championship runner-up position.

Formula 1 is getting ready for its second stop of the season. This weekend the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2023 will take place, an event that, for the third consecutive year, appears on the calendar and where special attention will be paid to the Red Bull Racing drivers as they look like the rivals to beat due to the superiority shown in Bahrain and in the preseason.

However, for Mexican Sergio Perez, racing at the Jeddah Corniche circuit will represent the opportunity to get on the podium for the first time since the Grand Prix is held (2021). It is a goal he has only come close to with a fourth-place finish in 2022, while in 2021, his result was the worst possible as he had to abandon the race due to a collision.

In his third year as a member of the Austrian team and his thirteenth as a driver in motorsport’s top category, the outlook looks promising for Checo & Co. Jeddah is a circuit of urban characteristics with narrow track limits and little room for overtaking. However, the Mexican has shown that these are conditions in which he feels comfortable.

REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed
REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

In fact, the Saudi Arabian GP is a memorable event in Perez’s career because, in last year’s edition, he took the pole position for the first and only time in his career. On that occasion, the Mexican was ahead of the entire grid by stopping in 1:28.200, 0.025 faster than Leclerc, who finished second.

Thus, the Saturday session of 2021 was marked with golden letters in Checo‘s history, but not Sunday. For the race, the Jalisco-born driver started without a single-seater in front of him. The course of the race was solid as he managed to maintain his position under pressure from the Ferraris without much difficulty.

However, the bad luck of a safety car destroyed Perez’s strategy. On lap 15, the Red Bull entered the pits. Just seconds later, the accident of a Williams forced the safety car to come out, in a situation where the closest pursuers took the opportunity to change tires in a window of time that meant they gained positions. Checo was relegated to fourth place.

The results of Checo Perez in the Saudi Arabian GP

  • Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2022: Fourth position with Red Bull, but 1st on the grid after qualifying rounds.
  • Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2021: Fifth position with Red Bull.
REUTERS/Rula Rouhana
REUTERS/Rula Rouhana

Aiming to surpass what he did in 2022.

In his second year as part of the Austrian team, the Mexican driver obtained 11 podiums: two wins, seven-second places, and two third places, an amount never seen before.

One of his wins came at the Monaco Grand Prix, one of the sport’s most traditional and iconic races, which in turn meant that he surpassed Pedro Rodriguez in the number of wins in the category. The other victory came at the Singapore Grand Prix with an extraordinary drive at Marina Bay, one of the most technically demanding circuits on the calendar.

Concerning the local race, with his third place in the Mexican Grand Prix, he became the first Aztec driver to reach the podium in front of his home crowd. On the other hand, in terms of points, he accumulated 305. He remained until the last date fighting for the runner-up position in the World Championship, which he finally conceded to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc (308 units). Even so, the figure was a record.

At a group level, Checo’s good performance was reflected in the Constructors Championship. The Red Bulls won with 759 total points (305 for Perez and 454 for Verstappen), ending Mercedes’ hegemony for eight consecutive years. As an extra, he was once again an important part of the strategy for the Dutchman to confirm his individual title as champion of the competition.