Before the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Perez openly wondered why he wasn’t being considered by any of the top teams for a drive. That’s a pretty bold statement to make, but he backed it up brilliantly with a measured recovery drive to the podium, defending from Vettel in the closing stages with what he called “the two best laps of my whole career”.
Now, it’s not often you hear a team wishing one of its drivers was driving for someone else (with the possible exception of Daniil Kvyat), however, Fernley – recognising both Perez’s talent and perhaps the team’s own limitations – said top teams should be after his services. He told RACER:
“I’ve said to many people he is one of the most underestimated drivers. He is such a superb racer, and if there is a sniff of the podium he’ll get it. As much as we obviously value him dearly, I think it’s a travesty that he’s not been able to be picked up by one of the front-running teams.”
At 28-years-old there’s plenty of quality racing years left in Checo yet, but even though there are other young, talented drivers in the sport (his own teammate, for instance), Fernley doesn’t think that should be a barrier.
“I don’t think he’s gone past it at all, I think people should be looking at him. He’s just a superb race driver.”
Perez himself is obviously still keen to land a seat with one of the top three teams as he doesn’t feel that he can succeed with any other team with the way F1 is at the moment. He told Sky Sports F1:
“I still feel that there is so much more I can do in the sport. I also feel that my time will come because I work really hard, I really put my effort in to have an opportunity and I feel I deserve to have a car to show my full potential. There hasn’t been an opportunity or vacancy in the top teams. If you want to do something in Formula 1 you really have to be in one of those teams.”
Do you think Perez deserves a top seat? Let us know in the comments.