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Checo Perez takes a mass bath in Guadalajara on the eve of the Mexican Grand Prix

Checo Perez, Formula 1 driver, during the show in Guadalajara.ULISES RUIZ (AFP)

If there is a word that resounds these days, it is Checo. The Mexican driver, the only one from Latin America in Formula 1, lives the busiest weekend of the year thanks to the Mexican Grand Prix. Two days after racing around the track in Austin (Texas), where he finished fourth, Sergio Perez traveled to Guadalajara – his hometown – to give his neighbors a small taste of the power of his powerful car before the neighbors of him.

Perez had already given an exhibition in 2011, the year of his debut. He did it aboard a Sauber, the team that later became Alfa Romeo, to run a few kilometers on a circuit laid out in the Historic Center of the city. Twenty-four podiums won and four victories later, the rider returned among his own for a mass bath.

The Mexican got into an old Red Bull, RB7 according to the F1 nomenclature, to take a couple of laps along Vallarta Avenue and say hello to the Glorieta de La Minerva, the adored fountain in Guadalajara. He greeted everyone dressed in a pilot’s suit, as if he were Francis I on top of the popemobile. It is no exaggeration for a city and a country that celebrates having one of their own in the sport’s elite. Hundreds of people crowded the fences to try to catch a photograph or moment of the Mexican. Even the Governor of Jalisco, Enrique Alfaro, was dressed in full Red Bull gear. The godfather of the Mexican pilot, Carlos Slim Domit, was also there.

It was in 2021 when Checo Perez ran along the asphalt of Paseo de la Reforma, in Mexico City, with a few meters of potholes, to give a show similar to the one he gave this Tuesday in Guadalajara. Last year’s event unleashed great euphoria from the first hour and paralyzed the main avenue of the Mexican capital.

In their homeland, fans commended themselves to their local hero. The amateur drones, however, created a problem on the street circuit because they put the safety of the pilots and assistants at risk. There were also incidents like people trying to jump the fences. Among the anecdotes is that an old Tsuru was modified to give it an aggressive engine, but in the end it had to be pushed.

Checo Perez greets F1 fans on Vallarta Avenue, in Guadalajara.
Checo Perez greets F1 fans on Vallarta Avenue, in Guadalajara. HENRY ROMERO (REUTERS)

Checo Perez will run the Grand Prix at home this Sunday the 30th with the F1 title already won by his teammate Max Verstappen. Also because Red Bull has already won the Constructors’ World Championship. It remains for Perez to fight for the world runner-up position that is disputed with Charles Leclerc of Ferrari, who takes only two points from him in the standings: 267 against 265 and with three races underway.

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