Sergio Perez goes into the Mexican Grand Prix knowing team orders must be prioritised over his own hopes of winning his home race.
The Red Bull driver’s main role with five races of the season remaining will be to help his team catch Mercedes in the Constructors’ World Championship and help Max Verstappen fend off Lewis Hamilton to secure the Drivers’ crown.
With the race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez having been cancelled last year due to the pandemic, the Mexican fans that will pack into the circuit would love nothing more than to see Perez record a third Formula 1 race victory.
Especially as the 31-year-old is behind the wheel of the most competitive car he has had since he entered the sport in 2011.
But if both Verstappen and Perez find themselves in a position to win the Mexican Grand Prix, there is no question whom Red Bull will insist takes the chequered flag if it can be arranged.
🗣 "Everyone was full of energy and the people have been amazing. I am really looking forward to seeing all the fans back at track this weekend." @SChecoPerez ahead of the #MexicoGP 🇲🇽 pic.twitter.com/B94FWgsqrE
— Red Bull Racing Honda (@redbullracing) November 4, 2021
Asked about the prospect of having to bow to team orders, Perez, quoted by Motorsport.com, said: “It’s complicated. We should see what circumstances we have in the race.
“At the end of the day, we are drivers working as a team and the main focus is on the team. It’s the big picture.
“That’s the beauty of racing – decisions are made in the moment, in seconds, even though they are very complicated issues.”
Of course, it is not inconceivable that Perez could win his home race, because misfortune could strike Verstappen or the Mexican may find himself out in front with one car or more, for example a Mercedes, in between he and his colleague.
The very least he will hope for is to repeat the third-place finishes he achieved at the previous two grands prix in Turkey and the United States.
“I think we are in a good rhythm to fight for the podium in the last races,” said Perez. “We are fighting for a lot in these last races and every point will be important.
“I would be proud to be able to achieve one of my dreams since my childhood [and win]. This is a real opportunity that depends on me and my team, whereas other years it depended on other factors.
“So there is a very real chance and my motivation is 100 per cent.”