It happened in Monza, and now, just a couple of months later, it happened again, a driver who had previously barely made it to the podium – OK, nine times in Sergio’s case – finally got to stand on the top step.
What made Sergio Perez‘ Sakhir win so very special wasn’t so much that he pulled it off after a rollercoaster season which saw him miss two races due to COVID, but the fact that at this moment in time he is currently unemployed in 2021.
Though his win owed much to the uncharacteristic ineptitude of Mercedes and the bad luck of a certain Mr Russell, it was well-deserved and served notice to the F1 paddock that raw talent should come before money.
It was a dream win for the Mexican, indeed that is exactly how he saw it.
“I’m speechless,” said Perez at race end. “I hope I’m not dreaming, because I’ve dreamt for so many years of being in this moment. Ten years it took me… incredible.
“I don’t know what to say,” he continued. “After the first lap, the race was again gone, same as last weekend. But it was about not giving up, recovering, going through it, just making the best we possibly could.
“This season the luck hasn’t been with us,” he admitted, “but we finally got it.
“I think we won today on merit,” he insisted, the Mexican having been involved in the first lap incident that saw Leclerc and Verstappen eliminated and which necessitated a pit stop that saw him rejoining the race in 18th position. “The Mercedes had some issues, but I think in the end my pace was strong enough to hold George, who did a fantastic race.”
However, while Mercedes “had some issues”, the Mexican admitted he had some concerns of his own.
“I made a big mistake during the safety car, I locked up my front left tyre badly. So during my first stint, I had so much vibration. But as soon as I recovered in the second stint, I told my team this car felt just like a limousine, so easy without the vibrations.
“We had tremendous pace. And then I think we read really well the race throughout the weekend.
“We came here thinking it was going to be a two-stop, but after my long run on Friday, we knew what we had to do today.”