Sergio Perez grew to become the primary Mexican Formula One race winner in 50 years on Sunday and he barely dared to imagine it, demanding a pinch to show it was not only a dream. After 190 begins and in his penultimate race for Racing Point, with nothing determined for subsequent season and a 12 months out looming, the 30-year-old was in fantasyland below the floodlights at Bahrain’s desert Sakhir circuit.
“I’m shocked. I don’t want to be too excited because I dream of this time so many times that when I wake up it hurts,” he mentioned after going from final on the opening lap to first on the end. “I have to make sure this is not a dream,” added the Mexican. I’ve been dreaming of this second for 10 years.”
The final and solely Mexican F1 race winner earlier than Perez was the late Pedro Rodriguez, one of two brothers after whom the Mexico City circuit is called, in Belgium in 1970.
Perez has come shut earlier than, ending second in Turkey solely final month, however with out ever reaching that high step.
He did it the laborious approach on Sunday, pitting after a primary lap collision and combating again from 18th and final in an astonishing victory that introduced tears to his eyes.
Perez was helped by a uncommon Mercedes pitstop blunder, the champions mixing up the tyres for Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton’s stand-in George Russell who additionally suffered a late puncture.
“When I got hit into the first corner I thought not again, it cannot be us again,” he mentioned of an incident that ended the race for Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.
“After the first lap, the race was gone. But it was all about not giving up, recovering, going for it, making the best we possibly could. The luck hasn’t been with us this year but we finally got it and I think we won today on merit.”
Perez mentioned standing on the rostrum as a winner was “such a moment in my life, for my family, for myself. Being there at the top of the podium, listening to the Mexican anthem and looking at the flag on top.
“It’s something very special. As a Mexican it’s not easy to get into Formula One.”