Sergio Perez uncertainty remains over F1 future despite maiden win at Sakhir GP
F1's newest race winner continues wait to find out if Red Bull will turn to him for 2021 or a year on the sidelines awaits; Ross Brawn suggests Perez's replacement at Racing Point, Sebastian Vettel, now is the one with "some fairly big shoes to fill" despite the German's four world titles
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 07/12/20 2:59pm
Sergio Perez's Formula 1 future remains in the balance despite securing his maiden victory in the Sakhir GP - but the Mexican made clear he is "more determined than ever to be on the grid", either next year or for a 2022 return.
In his 190th start in F1 and after nine previous appearances on the other two steps on the podium, Perez finally claimed a Grand Prix victory in his penultimate race for Racing Point after seven seasons at the team - his first win in any motorsport series since November 2010 when on the cusp of F1 in GP2.
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Told back in September that he was being replaced by four-time champion Sebastian Vettel for next season, Perez's only option to stay on the grid for next year remains at Red Bull, who are waiting until after this week's season finale in Abu Dhabi to decide on Alex Albon's future in the seat next to Max Verstappen.
Perez, with points in every race he has finished this season and two podiums in the last three events, is the leading alternative.
"As we know, Formula 1 people tend to have a short memory and so, if that's the case, it should be good!" the Mexican joked to Sky Sports F1 of his big result on Sunday.
"But it's not up to me. I'm at peace with myself. I'm more determined than ever to be on the grid, if it's not next year the year after.
"There are some good options for '22 in case '21 doesn't work. I'm 30 years old so I think the best years of my career are ahead of me. I really want to be here."
Perez takes the plaudits from around F1
Enjoying the best season of his career in the most competitive car he has driven in F1, Perez's crowning glory for 2020 was welcomed across the sport.
"Congratulations to Sergio," said Vettel, his 2021 replacement. "I'm really happy for him. Really."
Lance Stroll, Perez's team-mate who joined the Mexican on the podium in third, added: "He deserved it. He's been with the team for such a long time doing such a great job and he really deserves it."
Sky F1's Jenson Button, who was team-mate to Perez at McLaren in 2013, tweeted his congratulations.
Ross Brawn, F1's managing director of motorsport, reiterated in his post-race column on the sport's official website his view on Perez that "it'll be a tragedy if he can't get a car" for next season.
"The team must be thinking about the decisions they have made, losing him when he's driving so well," added Brawn of Racing Point's call to let the Mexican go.
Firstly the shoutouts. Congrats to @SChecoPerez on his first win. Crazy considering first lap incident so congrats Checo! First podium for @OconEsteban congrats to him and the team @RenaultF1Team. @GeorgeRussell63... Ahh. I feel ya son. Rough. Great showing though 👏🏼— Daniel Ricciardo (@danielricciardo) December 7, 2020
"His replacement Sebastian Vettel I'm sure will come back stronger, as he's in a bit of a trough at the moment, but Checo is a guaranteed deal. So that'll be interesting to see how that develops. In a way, Seb has some fairly big shoes to fill now, even if he's a world champion."