Sergio Perez lashes out at ‘lazy Mexican’ criticism

Red Bull driver Sergio Pérez has re-found his early season form following a summer filled with his performances being questioned.

There is absolutely no doubt that Sergio Pérez has re-found his mojo since a somewhat disastrous mid-season, with a brilliant victory at the Singapore Grand Prix and a well-deserved second place at the Japanese Grand Prix.

Pérez has endured an odd year, which started off with the Mexican being hailed as a title challenger to team-mate Max Verstappen.

The calls came after the 32-year-old claimed a famous victory around the streets of Monaco, which saw him within striking distance of his team-mate in the Drivers’ Championship.

Monaco was Pérez’s first win of the season; however, it could be questioned if he would’ve won the previous Spanish Grand Prix, where he was twice told to allow Verstappen past.

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Similar happened at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix which followed Monaco, where Red Bull told the Mexican not to fight the Dutchman, once Verstappen overtook Pérez for the race lead.

After claiming five podiums, including one victory, in the first eight rounds of the season, Pérez’s form undoubtedly dipped.

Why it dropped so dramatically is something that is difficult to answer, with potential reasons being due to the RB18’s upgrades suiting Verstappen’s driving-style, to the Mexican simply enduring a lull.

In the eight races that followed Baku, Pérez claimed just three podiums in the strongest car on the grid and endured two retirements.

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As a result, Pérez came under fire for failing to perform, with Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko having also admitted that the Mexican needed to improve.

Improve he most certainly did in some fashion, with victory at Singapore and then a great showing at Suzuka, where he forced Charles Leclerc into a costly error.

As a result of a strong couple of rounds, the Red Bull driver has moved his way into second place in the Drivers’ Championship, with the Austrians targeting a clean sweep in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships.

Some have questioned if the criticism Pérez faced was due to his nationality; however, the driver has himself denied that this is the case.

Pérez revealed that whilst he has felt like he’s “not taken seriously”, he doesn’t feel like he’s faced prejudice or persecution.

“No, nothing like that,” answered Pérez.

“But I have felt that sometimes you are not taken seriously. Sometimes people say ‘Well, he’s just a Mexican and he’s lazy [because of] his culture’ and so on.

“It’s like, just because you are Mexican, you are not able to compete with the best people in the world and sometimes I have felt that, especially in the early years.

“But on the other hand, it is always nice to prove that anyone can be up there.”

Spaniard Fernando Alonso has previously spoken in similar light to Pérez, with the duo believing that Latin drivers receive a “bit more criticism” than others.

This is an argument that has been questioned around the world for different nationalities, with Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto having to apologise for calling Yuki Tsunoda a “tsunami” recently, whilst Dutch and Austrian fans have recently come under fire for their behaviour towards Lewis Hamilton.

In regard to Latin drivers, Pérez explained that he does think they receive more backlash than others, but that actually other drivers experience “similar issues”, with the whole topic being “hardly talked about”.

“Whenever you have a bad race or a little bit of a bad patch, the same as any other driver, you can see that with the Latin drivers, you can hear a bit more criticism where there has only been a few races. It is not like a year has gone,” added Pérez.

“You see with other drivers that they have similar issues and it is hardly being talked about.

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“Sometimes, I have felt that way throughout my career and I think also it was worth pointing it out.

“But at the same time, it is the beauty of our sport, to have that together with the media. We are a great sport and as a sportsman, you always get that sort of motivation from here and there.

“Nothing absolutely more than that.”