F1 news: Mika Hakkinen praises Adrian Newey's brilliant technical leadership at Red Bull

Two-time former Formula 1 champion Mika Hakkinen rates Red Bull chief technical officer Adrian Newey as the most successful designer in F1 history, having also won titles with Williams and McLaren.

On Sunday at Suzuka, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen wrapped up a dominant 2022 campaign by claiming his second F1 world championship with four races of the season remaining.

But while all the news has been about the Dutchman's driving skills, Hakkinen believes none of it would have happened without the technical brilliance of Newey.

Hakkinen is no stranger to working with the British engineer having picked up his 1998 and 1999 world titles behind the wheel of Newey's cars.

In his Unibet column, Hakkinen said Newey was a big factor behind winning his two world titles. "I am very happy for Red Bull's technical boss Adrian Newey.

"It was thanks to his work at McLaren that I had great cars with which to win both my World Championship titles and he is still winning at Red Bull all these years later," Hakkinen said.

"He really is the most successful designer in F1 history, and although I know he has a great team of design engineers working with him, his technical leadership is just brilliant.

"Even during Mercedes' dominant years Red Bull remained competitive and it's amazing to see Adrian's team take advantage of this year's new regulations to win another title. Congratulations to him," Hakkinen added.

Hakkinen commented on Verstappen's stunning 2022 form, and said: "This was a fantastic performance by Max, the kind of race you dream about when going for the World Championship title.

"He said before the weekend that he just wanted it to be perfect, especially following the problems he and the team had in Singapore a week ago. Pole position wasn't easy - only 0.01s fastest than Charles's Ferrari! - but Max managed to pull the lap together really well."

The 54-year-old Hakkinen said he had enjoyed the thrilling start to Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix which saw Verstappen and Ferrari's Charles Leclerc going at it side by side for the first few corners before the Red Bull driver took over.

"His race start was incredible because it looked as though Charles [Leclerc] had taken the lead but Max has so much confidence and held on," Hakkinen said.

"You can use that outside line at the first corner in the wet. It's typical of what a kart racer can do, and Max used all his experience to take control and put Charles behind. From then on he was in a class of his own - really on top of the car.

"To win by 27 seconds after such a short race was brilliant. Max's 12th win of the year really shows how much he deserved this year's World Championship - he dominated," Hakkinen added.

Latest news