Sergio Perez has insisted that his Formula 1 future is “not in my hands” and is prepared to take a sabbatical in 2021 if Red Bull don’t come calling, a scenario described as a “travesty” after he continued his fine form with a podium at the Turkish GP.
Perez – fourth in the championship despite missing two races due to coronavirus – has been one of the drivers of the season and secured a much-deserved first 2020 podium last weekend but, after Racing Point decided to replace him with Sebastian Vettel for next year, he still hasn’t found a seat to remain on the grid.
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The Mexican’s only realistic option left is Red Bull, who are Mercedes’ closest F1 challengers and would represent an upgrade, but who are also eager to retain Alex Albon – provided he impresses before the end of the season.
Sky F1’s Karun Chandhok, speaking to Perez after he finished second at the Turkish GP, said it would be a “travesty” if he had to leave F1, to which he replied: “I think in Formula 1 it’s not 100 per cent related to performance.
“We’ve seen with other drivers, there are so many things around the seat, around a driver, that at the end of the day this is not in my hands. I’m not really concerned, I really want to finish the season on a high and see what happens.”
The soon to be unemployed Perez showed his class and experience almost as well as Hamilton. Surely he’s firmly on Red Bull’s radar if they decide to change Alex Albon.
Martin Brundle on Sergio Perez’s Turkish GP
Asked about Red Bull specifically by Sky F1’s Rachel Brookes, Perez admitted “that one in particular is not in my hands” and said he could take a year out of F1.
“At the moment I’m just focusing on finishing on a high, and if the opportunity comes… great,” he added. “If not, I’m prepared to stop for a year as well.”
Perez: I’m at my peak
Perez equalled his best-ever result in F1 by finishing second – for the first time since 2012 – at Istanbul Park, finally rewarded after a number of strong drives this year.
Perez, who has finished in the top-10 in every 2020 race but was without a top-three finish before Sunday, stated: “It’s a special one.
“I haven’t had a smooth season, a lot of things have happened – up and down. I had Covid, missed two races, and it’s been hard, you know?
“Missing out on my seat, looking out for a drive, it hasn’t been a straightforward year but it’s definitely a great result.”
Perez is now fourth, three points clear of Charles Leclerc, in the championship, and added that he felt he is currently peaking as a driver.
“I think I’ve had very good seasons in the past but were not seen as a good year because of the car potential,” he said. “I was finishing seventh in the championship, a couple of times eighth, but I was still doing a good job, a tremendous job.
“I think right now I’m in a very good level in my career, I think probably at my peak in terms of experience, understanding, communication-wise with the team as well.
“I’m sure this podium will help us to finish the last few races on a high.”
The season concludes with a triple header in the Middle East, starting with the Bahrain GP on November 29 – live only on Sky Sports F1.
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