Sergio Perez’s profile has skyrocketed this season, from a 2011 rookie best known for his huge Monaco shunt, to a potential future Ferrari star, who scored his third podium finish in Italy on Sunday. But who really is this affable Mexican? A would-be lawyer, who’s scared of snakes and loves his mum’s home cooking, apparently. Whatever you do, just don’t call him lazy…
Q: What keeps you awake at night?
Sergio Perez – Checo: Ah, that depends which night! There are some nights when thinking about the next race keeps me awake, then there are others when it’s thinking about girls, and then others thinking of friends. But in general I am a very good sleeper.
Q: If you could banish one thing from your life – for the rest of your life – what would it be?
Checo: For the rest of my life? That is pretty heavy. There are things now and then that I would like to see vanish, but nothing severe enough to deserve the ‘rest of my life’ verdict… (laughs)
Q: What’s been your most valuable life lesson?
Checo: Well, there isn’t one in particular that stands out, but there are quite a few I have come across. I came to Europe, to Germany, when I was very young – only 15 – and that was a very tough time. To leave my family and my home country behind, coming to a completely different environment – that made me understand at an early age how difficult life can be. And on the way to this understanding you can believe there have been many lessons about maturing, both personally and professionally.
Q: What do you admire?
Checo: I admire people who never give up, no matter how hard the conditions may be. I know how hard this is.
Q: If you could give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
Checo: I would have to give a lot of advice. I came to Europe completely alone and life taught me many things. Probably the most important would be to become mature as fast as possible. So far I can say that I am very proud of how I have managed my life until now.
Q: If your racing career ended after this season, what would you do with the rest of your life?
Checo: I would go back to Mexico and try to become a lawyer – and live a normal life.
Q: What animal best reflects your personality?
Checo: Oh, well, definitely not a koala. A koala is far too lazy – much more so than me! (laughs) So did everybody get that? I am not that lazy.
Q: What is more important than winning?
Checo: In my professional life, nothing. But in my personal life, my family and my friends.
Q: What would you spend your last dollar on?
Checo: I don’t think that you can buy many things with one dollar. I would probably buy water – to keep me going for a few more hours before I’m broke! (laughs)
Q: What is your biggest weakness?
Checo: When I have a bad result I am down. It gets to me for one or two hours, but then my strength comes into play and after two hours I am over it, it’s gone.
Q: What’s your ultimate comfort food?
Checo: Mexican food. I love my mum’s homemade food.
Q: What’s the first thing you do when you get home after a race?
Checo: When I go home to Mexico my dog has absolute priority. Then I jump into my own bed and later go out to meet friends. And if I come home to my European home, it’s the same but without the dog. (laughs)
Q: What scares you?
Checo: Aside from snakes, nothing.
Q: What’s your favourite smell?
Q: What’s the best advice you have been given?
Checo: My family always told me to work as hard and as well as I can, because life is hard. And to start this at an early age, because one day you will have to do it anyway and it is better that you know how hard work feels.
Q: Are you the man you always thought you would become?
Checo: I don’t know really. Right now it is a strange feeling to see that people are starting to consider me as a star. In Mexico people are so interested in my life, in what I am doing, and I have never thought about becoming a sort of public figure. I always wanted to be in Formula One and win races – I never wasted a thought on what comes with it: the fame, people’s interest – and I find it so funny that suddenly people are so interested in a person like me.
Q: What feels like home?
Checo: To be with friends and hang out.
Q: When were you happiest?
Checo: Canada was a very emotional moment. There were so many Mexican fans there. That got under my skin.
Q: What event can you not forget but would wish you could?
Checo: Monaco last year!
Q: If you had to stay in one place for the rest of your life, where would it be?
Checo: Definitely Guadalajara, my hometown. Not the slightest doubt about it.
Source: Formula 1