Perez preparing for milestone occasion

Sergio Perez during the Styrian Grand Prix

Sergio Perez will be out to celebrate his 200th Formula 1 grand prix in style this weekend in Austria.

Since debuting for Sauber a decade ago, the Mexican has spent time at McLaren, Force India/Racing Point and now Red Bull, chalking up a total of 12 podiums, including two wins, along the way.

Ironically, Perez has this season been granted the best opportunity of his career – the very same year that he had at one stage looked destined to be the unlucky driver on the sidelines.

Perez lost his long-time seat to Sebastian Vettel as part of the Racing Point team’s 2021 transition to Aston Martin, only for Red Bull to swoop on Perez to replace Alexander Albon.

The situation has played out perfectly for the 31-year-old, who has combined with Max Verstappen to give Red Bull a four-race winning streak.

Now, after narrowly missing out on third place at the Styrian Grand Prix last weekend, a return to the Red Bull Ring brings a golden opportunity to take some silverware from the milestone occasion.

“I can’t believe this is my 200th race!” said Perez.

“I am really looking forward to racing in the same place for a second weekend, I think this will give me a very good understanding of the car.

Perez and the Red Bull-Honda team celebrate Max Verstappen’s win in the Styrian Grand Prix

“I now have a very good reference from last weekend and I know the areas I need to improve.

“It will also be interesting to see how much the tyre compounds will change the performance and strategy throughout the weekend.

“I think we can do very well this weekend and it would be very special to step up on the podium here at our home race and secure more points for the team.”

World championship leader Verstappen is expecting a sterner challenge from his rivals on the second straight weekend of racing at Spielberg, albeit this time with softer tyres.

“People will learn from what they didn’t do so well last week and also we have softer tyre compounds which could mix things up as well,” said the Dutchman.

“We had a very positive race but there are always things we can do better and I naturally expect everyone to be closer this weekend as this is usually what happens when you have back-to-back races at the same track.”

Verstappen and Perez are first and third in the championship, respectively, separated only by Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.

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