Sergio Perez said Thursday his stirring victory at last Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix had left him determined to stay in Formula One.
The popular Mexican driver heads into this weekend’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and his last race for Racing Point with mixed feelings.
He knows he may be without a seat in 2021 as four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel replaces him after leaving Ferrari, but he said he also felt great satisfaction whether he receives an offer from Red Bull or not.
“Seb has definitely taken a great decision,” he said.
“He is coming to a team of pure racers, to a team that he will definitely have a good time with and he will enjoy it.”
The Mexican added that he was particularly moved by the reaction in his home country after he had claimed his first win at the 190th time of asking.
“People were out on the streets celebrating. That Sunday, it was a very special day and a lot of people went out to celebrate,” he explained.
“People sent me videos crying about it, you know.
“To hear the national anthem in Formula One is very special. It’s been incredible – for myself, for my family and for my country.”
Speaking at an official pre-event virtual news conference, Perez also discussed his hopes of succeeding Alex Albon alongside Max Verstappen at Red Bull next year.
The London-born Thai has had an inconsistent first full season in the role and, significant or not, Perez received a congratulatory message from Red Bull’s special advisor Helmut Marko, Albon’s boss, after his win.
“They will make the decision at some point after the weekend,” said Perez.
“I don’t know when that will be, but there is not a lot of hurry anymore. We waited so long but now, one week or two weeks more to know a decision – it doesn’t change as much.
“I’m in big peace with myself. I’m not fully in control of my future at the moment — and it’s something that bothers you.
“Any human being in this position will struggle a bit, but given it’s not in my hands, given the victory came… I feel that I’ve made the most of my opportunities.
“If I have a seat for next year, it’s great, but if not, I’m willing to come back in ’22. I believe that I’m at the peak of my career and the best years are ahead of me.”
His immediate task, he added, was to help Racing Point secure third place in the constructors championship by fending off challenges from McLaren, 10 points behind in fourth, and Renault, 22 adrift in fifth.
“F1 goes so fast, but all the focus is on this weekend and on finishing on a high,” said Perez.
“What happened last weekend, it doesn’t matter. We have to perform. We have so much work to do because we have to make sure we finish third. We’ve got a job to do – one more job to do.”