Oct.27 (GMM) Sergio Perez insists he doesn’t want back-to-back world champion Max Verstappen to “gift” him a victory at home in Mexico this weekend.
The move would not only pay the 32-year-old back for his efforts supporting Verstappen’s two title wins, Red Bull is also targeting its first ever 1-2 in the drivers’ standings.
Currently, Perez is just two points behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc with just two races to go after the one in Mexico City on Sunday.
“I don’t need anyone to give me anything,” he insisted at a Red Bull event this week in Perez’s native Guadalajara.
“I raced all my life without anyone giving me a gift.”
On the contrary, most fans and insiders would agree that Perez has offered significant support to Verstappen both this year and last – so much so that some have given him the nickname ‘Minister of Defence’.
“This nickname makes me laugh,” said Perez. “It has become very famous everywhere, but I like Minister of Attack better because I like attacking more than defending.
“But it is also good to have defense,” he smiled.
Generally, Perez says he is happy with his 2022 season, even though he recently hinted that he has faced discrimination in Formula 1 for his nationality.
“I haven’t suffered discrimination in Formula 1 for being Latin American,” he insisted, “but if I have a good race it is not talked about as much as if I were a European driver. And if I have a bad race there is more talk about that.
“But I am lucky to be Mexican and it is part of the sport so I don’t like to complain about this.
“I was a little up and down in the middle of the season when I was fighting for the championship,” Perez admitted. “With the improvements to the car I moved away a bit.
“But in general we have had good pace and we have been there.”
And while he doesn’t want a “gift” from Verstappen this weekend, he won’t mind if the reigning 2021 and 2022 drivers’ champion slips into a support role.
“I have no doubt that he will do what I have done for him in the past,” said Perez.
“But I will have to be perfect to win.”