Sergio Pérez, Formula 1
Sergio 'Checo' Pérez celebrates after winning the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the 5th Formula 1 win of his career Via Sergio Pérez @SChecoPerez on X/Twitter

SEATTLE - With the 2024 Formula 1 season underway, the Middle East is hosting consecutive races as drivers and teams get ready to compete for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

A young circuit compared to other races in the F1, Jeddah will host the event for the fourth time since the inaugural race in 2021. Just like they have done with the rest of the field, Red Bull Racing has dominated the circuit in the previous two years: Max Verstappen won the race in 2022 while teammate Sergio 'Checo' Pérez took home the top spot last season.

The first place finish was 'Checo's' second podium of the 2023 season as he started the year in a dominant fashion. One year later, the Mexican driver will seek to repeat his performance and become the first driver in the history of the Saudi Arabian GP to win the race multiple times.

'Checo' is set to appear in his 260th Grand Prix since his Formula 1 debut in 2011. Over these 13 years, Pérez has been able to get 36 podiums, including six wins. If he wants to perform well, he will need a strong outing at the qualifying rounds. Last season he secured a pole position, which eventually helped him win the race ahead of teammate Max Verstappen. 'Checo's' three F1 poles have all come at street circuits.

Out of 'Checo's' six victories in Formula 1, five of them have come at street circuits. With Jeddah being one of the fastest street circuits in the calendar, this weekend's race could grant Pérez a huge opportunity to establish himself as a true challenger for Verstappen's crown.

In an interview with Formula 1, Pérez revealed that his preparations ahead of the 2024 season had been different. Having learned from last season's mistakes, 'Checo' made changes off-track to improve his energy levels and physicality.

"It's quite important because it is 24 races. Right now, we are all fresh and smiley but when we go halfway through the season and still there is another 15 races to go, it's important to keep the energy levels high," he said.

After getting a podium in four of the first five races last year, Pérez's performances dipped in the middle of the season, with only five podium finishes in his remaining 16 races.

Best moments of Sergio 'Checo' Pérez in Formula 1 so far

Jeddah will be a golden opportunity for Red Bull to continue their dominance on the grid. Current three-time world champion Verstappen finished ahead of everyone else at the Bahrain GP and, with Saudi Arabia's circuit being a favorable track for Red Bull's RB20 car, a strong outing from the team is expected to land them -yet again- a possible 1-2 finish over the weekend.

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