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Sergio Perez has had a career year in the 2022 Formula 1 season, his second with Red Bull, and signing an extension early has certainly helped.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has already secured a second consecutive Formula 1 world championship this season, doing so with four races remaining on the 22-race 2022 schedule, but there is still more for the Milton Keynes-based team to fight for over the course of the season’s final four races.

Teammate Sergio Perez sits in second place in the driver standings, just one point ahead of Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, and has a chance to complete Red Bull’s first ever 1-2 finish in the standings.

His previous career-best finishes in the standings are fourth place efforts from 2020 when he was still with Racing Point and from 2021 when he was in his first season with Red Bull.

One key to Sergio Perez’s success this season has been the fact that his future has long been solidified.

In late 2020, he didn’t even know if he would be on the Formula 1 grid in 2021, and while he did land a ride with Red Bull, his contract wasn’t extended through 2022 until late summer 2021. This year, he signed a new deal — a multi-year extension — way back in the spring.

Perez said that the fact he signed a new deal so early in the season was somewhat of a weight lifted off his shoulders, as it allowed him to focus strictly on performing behind the wheel of the car.

“In a way, certainly it was,” Perez told Beyond the Flag. “It was massive to get that deal done early enough so you don’t waste any energy on it.”

While it hadn’t officially been announced at the time, Perez apparently agreed to the new contract before his rain-soaked Monaco Grand Prix victory back in May, as he appeared to tell team principal Christian Horner that he “signed too soon” during the podium ceremony.

He has since added another victory, and that victory also came in a rain-soaked street course race. He led every lap of the Singapore Grand Prix in early October.

Unsurprisingly, he feels that he is as strong of a rain driver as he has ever been, but he was quick to give credit to the team for both victories.

“Certainly,” he stated. “Certainly, in that regard, it was important to keep that momentum going. I think both races have been great in terms of the strategy calls. How we’ve been able to get the right calls has been really good.”

While many have dubbed his Singapore Grand Prix as his best ever performance in a Formula 1 car, Sergio Perez is looking forward.

“I always believe that my next win will be even better,” he stated. “Certainly, Singapore was very enjoyable, but I really look forward to more in these coming races.”

Perez has played a role in making the RB18 the most successful car that Red Bull — and chief technical officer Adrian Newey — have ever produced, but it hasn’t been easy.

“Certainly, working all through it with the time we have, with the amount of hours we had to invest in, that was really crucial and important to make sure we got the right package in the car, that we could exploit the maximum out of it,” he explained. “That was really important.”

While his obvious goal is to finish the season in second place in the driver standings, he wants to do so by winning all four races remaining on the schedule.

“I want to win the next four races,” he said. “That’s my thinking. I want to go there and get the maximum out of these next four races.”

The season’s final four races include the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas (Sunday, October 23), the Mexico City Grand Prix at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez (Sunday, October 30), the Sao Paulo Grand Prix at Interlagos Circuit (Sunday, November 13), and the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit (Sunday, November 20).

Of course, if he had to pick one to win, that would be the Mexico City Grand Prix.

In six career starts at the 17-turn, 2.674-mile (4.303-kilometer) road course in Mexico City, Mexico, the 32-year-old Mexican owns a top finish of third place, that coming in his first season with Red Bull.

“Yeah, that would be a massive dream for me!” he remarked.

While Red Bull have all but locked up the constructor championship, which would be their first since 2013, Perez’s focus hasn’t yet turned to 2023.

“Not at all yet,” he admitted. “I want to finish the season on a high. It’s very important for me and for our group of engineers to finish the season on a high and start 2023 really, really strong.”

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