TURKISH GRAND PRIX – Sergio Perez was the only man who got anywhere near making Hamilton’s winning strategy work, and comes away with a brilliant second place. If that’s to be his last F1 podium, it was a drive that was a microcosm of his against-the-odds, tyre-whisperer career.
The most recent driver to take a sabbatical has been Kimi Räikkönen, who left Ferrari in 2009 to accommodate Fernando Alonso’s move to the Scuderia.
2009 World Champion Jenson Button would not be racing in 2017, making the way for McLaren junior, Stoffel Vandoorne. Button though insisted that he wasn’t retiring and there’s an ‘option’ for him to return in 2018.
After being fired for publicly criticising Ferrari during their winless 1991 season, Alain Prost took a sabbatical in 1992 before joining Williams the following year.
Sergio Perez says he is prepared to take a sabbatical from Formula 1 if he fails to secure a seat on the 2021 grid.
Perez is fourth in the drivers’ championship despite missing two races due to a positive coronavirus test, and claimed a first podium of the season last weekend in Turkey.
However, the Mexican will leave Racing Point at the end of the current season, with Sebastian Vettel to spearhead the team’s rebranded Aston Martin effort in 2021.
Red Bull remains Perez’s only realistic chance at remaining on the 2021 grid, but the team is also keen to retain Alexander Albon.
“That one is not in my hands,” said Perez, after being questioned over the Red Bull seat.
“At the moment, I’m just focusing on finishing on a high. If the opportunity comes, great. If not, I’m prepared to stop for a year.”
Perez is on a career-best run of 18 consecutive points finishes dating back to September 2019, and equalled his best-ever result in Formula 1 by finishing second at Istanbul Park.
He would likely have finished on the podium at Imola, but a late pit stop handed third place to Daniel Ricciardo.
Perez is 41 points ahead of Racing Point team-mate Lance Stroll, who is is 11th in the standings.
When his exit was confirmed, Perez admitted it “hurts a bit” to be leaving Racing Point and that he had been given little notice of his future with the team prior to the announcement.
However, he conceded that securing a seat in Formula 1 goes beyond a driver’s performance.
“If it’s an injustice on missing out, I think it’s part of Formula 1, I always knew this is how it is. I can call myself privileged, I have had a great career, 10 years in F1 up to now,” the 188-race veteran said.
“If it’s the case I have to leave the sport, I can leave with a lot of pride as I’ve delivered with the material that I have had. Not many people can have such a career. So we’ll see what happens, but I’m at peace with myself.
“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 season concludes with a Middle East triple-header, starting with the Bahrain Grand Prix across November 27-29.
SERGIO PEREZ 2021 : A ONE-YEAR BREAK SERGIO PEREZ 2021 : A ONE-YEAR BREAK
VERSTAPPEN BRINGS OUT THE BEST IN HAMILTON
FORMULA 1 BACK AT ISTANBUL PARK IN TURKEY
VALENCIA E-PRIX – JAKE DENNIS WIN RACE 2
SUZUKA F1 GP – NEW CONTRACT SIGNED UNTIL 2024
HIGHLIGHTS EPRIX 1 – DE VRIES WINS WET VALENCIA
FORMULA 1 – MIAMI GRAND PRIX FOR 2022
THE NEXT RACE 2021
|Bahrain ||26 Mar|
|14:30 - 15:30||Free practice 1|
|18:00 - 19:00||Free practice 2|
|15:00 - 16:00||Free practice 3|
|18:00 - 19:00||Qualifying|
|18:00 - 20:00||Race|
|Bahrain||57 laps||308.238 km|