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Sergio ‘Checo’ Pérez Is the First Mexican F1 Driver To Take the Podium in Mexican Grand Prix

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Go Checo, go! After a rough 2020, Mexican Formula One driver Sergio Pérez just achieved the impossible: he became the first Mexican F1 driver to score a podium at his home race.

On Sunday, the 31-year-old driver placed third at the Grand Prix at Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez.

This accomplishment marks the first time a Mexican driver has ever placed in the top three of a Grand Prix race on Mexican soil. While Pérez came in third, his teammate, Max Verstappen, placed first. Superstar F1 race, Lewis Hamilton came in second. Checo has never placed higher than seventh place while racing at home.

But this isn’t the only accomplishment that Checo has to celebrate. This is the third time that Pérez has won a spot on the podium in his past three races — something he has never accomplished before.

And while Pérez said that “being on the podium at your home Grand Prix is something very special,” his natural competitive spirit forced him to admit that he wishes he could have done even better.

“Obviously I wanted more, I wanted to win the race and obviously to finish one-two for the team would have been amazing, you know,” Pérez said during the press conference. “We are such competitive people that if we finish third, we really, really don’t enjoy it, but today is one of those days that I must enjoy because of the crowd and seeing so many people so happy.”

Sergio Pérez has become a beloved figure in Mexico, with 138,435 fans showing up at Mexico City’s Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez to watch him race.

Former American driver Tavo Hellmund, spoke to Checo’s popularity in Mexico before the race: “Checo, if he wins in Mexico, you might as well just forget it. It will be a wonderful revolution of joy. He could probably be elected president,” he said according to the Associated Press.

Checo has been F1 racing since 2010, when he joined Sauber and was quickly dubbed “The Mexican Wunderkind” because of both his age and his skill.

But he has never experienced such a streak of success as he has recently. Now, the media is dubbing his comeback: “The renaissance of Sergio Pérez.”

Only a year ago, Pérez publicly talked about taking a sabbatical from racing after being replaced by Sebastian Vettel on his team of Racing Point (now Aston Martin). But last December, his luck changed when he won a race in Bahrain and Red Bull recognized him for the true talent he is, and signed him. Perez then scored another win in June in Azerbaijan.

It seems that now, Sergio Pérez is hitting a career stride while racing for Red Bull — and Mexicans couldn’t be happier.

“Checo has found his form in the last three or four races and that’s just presenting us with so many more options,” said Team Principal of the Red Bull Racing F1 team, Christian Horner. “He’s totally in tune with that, he’s asking all the questions from the car as well and I have to say it’s probably one of the best if not the best team spirit we’ve ever had in this team.”

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