Formula 1: The obscure record broken by Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Formula 1 (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Formula 1 (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images) /

By winning the Sakhir Grand Prix, Sergio Perez became the driver to wait the longest to secure his first Formula 1 victory of all-time.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez entered last Sunday’s Sakhir Grand Prix at the outer layout of Bahrain International Circuit having competed in 189 Formula 1 races, which ranked second on the all-time list among drivers who had never won a race.

The recordholder in that category is the late Andrea de Cesaris, who finished as high as second place at the Hockenheimring and at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in over his 15-year career from 1980 through 1994. He competed in 208 races.

One week removed from a mechanical failure that robbed him of a podium finish in the Bahrain Grand Prix at the track’s normal layout, Perez broke through for his first career victory in the Sakhir Grand Prix, rallying from an early spin which dropped him to last place behind the safety car to win by more than 10 seconds over Esteban Ocon, his former teammate who had never previously finished on the podium, in second place.

In doing so, Perez broke a fairly obscure record.

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Never before had a driver who had competed in more than 130 races secured his first win after race #130. The 30-year-old Mexican did it in start #190.

The recordholder in this category had been Mark Webber. In his 130th career start, Webber secured his first career victory driving for Red Bull at the Nurburgring in 2009, marking the latest a driver had ever secured his first win. Perez shattered that record by 60 races, or roughly three full modern-day seasons.

Only five other drivers have secured their first wins beyond their 100th starts (Rubens Barrichello – 123rd, Jarno Trulli – 119th, Jenson Button – 113th, Nico Rosberg – 111th, and Giancarlo Fisichella – 110th).

Perez is not under contract to return to Formula 1 next year, as he is set to be replaced by four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel at the rebranded Aston Martin team alongside Lance Stroll. But even if he doesn’t end up with Red Bull next year as many hope, he is confident that he will be back in the sport in 2022.

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He is set to start today’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit, the 2020 season finale, from the back of the field after incurring a grid penalty due to the fact that his car took on a new internal combustion engine, traction control and MGU-H ahead of the race.