Leclerc’s emotional phone call to Perez after Mexican GP

Date published: November 9 2021 - Jon Wilde

Sergio Perez's father leads the Red Bull celebrations after the Mexican GP. Mexico City November 2021.

Among the enduring images after the Mexican Grand Prix was the affection between Sergio Perez and his father – and it struck a chord with Charles Leclerc too.

Antonio Perez Garibay, dad of ‘Checo’, was a ubiquitous figure on Sunday, even being given the ‘honour’ of signing off the Sky F1 coverage following an entertaining interview that also featured pundits Damon Hill and Jenson Button.

The Perez family were so prominent not only because it was their home race but Sergio produced one of the strongest drives of his career on what was a terrific day for his Red Bull team.

After a poor qualifying session by their high standards, with both cars starting on the second row behind their Mercedes arch-rivals, the Milton Keynes-based squad bounced back with Max Verstappen winning easily to extend his Drivers’ World Championship lead to 19 points.

The main focus during the second half of the race, however, was on Perez’s valiant pursuit of Lewis Hamilton for second place, which ultimately came up short without him being able to make a serious overtaking attempt.

Nevertheless, there were boisterous celebrations among the Red Bull clan in which Perez Snr played a leading part, and that was something that resonated in a perhaps surprising figure – Ferrari driver Leclerc.

“Checo received a call yesterday from Charles Leclerc,” Antonio Perez revealed in an exclusive interview with MARCA Claro MVS.

“He told him ‘Checo, you don’t know how happy I was to see your parents celebrating like that, it brought tears to my eyes. I would have loved my father to see me’.

“I didn’t know Charles’ father had passed away and that Charles had spoken to Checo.”

Herve Leclerc, who was a Formula 3 driver in the 1980s and 1990s, passed away after a long illness at the age of 54 in 2017, just days before his son won an F2 race in Azerbaijan.

 

Of course, it was not only the Perez family that enjoyed Checo’s first F1 podium finish on home soil – so too did the crowd, with 372,000 fans attending over the race weekend.

“Sergio’s podium here [in Mexico City] is incredible for the Mexican people, the economy for my country, it’s incredible,” added the driver’s father.

“This grand prix is one of the best and Mexico is one of the best countries in the world.

“There will be a big party to celebrate [Sergio’s podium] and everyone is invited.”

 

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