Sergio Perez: Max Verstappen has been amazing this Formula 1 season

Red Bull driver Sergio Perez praised teammate Max Verstappen for securing a second consecutive Formula 1 title at Suzuka on Sunday.

The Mexican joined Red Bull in 2021 and played a great supporting role to Verstappen when he battled with Lewis Hamilton last year to secure his first world title in the last race of the 2021 season. In 2022, Perez was again constantly challenging the Dutchman's rivals for points and grid positions in the campaign with four races remaining.

In Sunday's race, which Verstappen won, it was Perez that played a big role in forcing the mistake by Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, in second place, to get penalised and get relegated to third, which ended up handing the championship to the Red Bull driver.

"I am very proud of what Max has done this season; he has stepped up as a driver," Perez said after the race.

"I was fighting with him in the beginning but then halfway through the year he moved into another gear, the way he drove in some races was unbelievable.

"It is a massive day for the Team, to do this in Japan in front on Honda and with a one-two is incredible. Hopefully soon we are able to secure the Constructors Championship for our Team, that will be massive. I am massively looking forward to the rest of the year."

When questioned about his intense battle with Leclerc over the last 10 laps of the race, Perez said: "It was a great battle with Charles today, it was nice that we got to race because at one point we though we wouldn't get to.

"It was a fantastic fight and we were pushing him hard towards the end, it was so difficult to overtake without DRS but I kept the pressure on, he made the mistake and he got the penalty to give me P2."

In an interview with Sky Sports F1 after the race, Perez said he hopes to never see again anything like Pierre Gasly's near miss with a recovery tractor, which was sent out to collect Carlos Sainz's Ferrari following it crashing out on the first lap on Sunday.

"That's the lowest point we've seen in the sport for years," Perez said. "What happened today just makes me so angry. I just hope ever in the sport we never get to see this situation ever again.

"We saw what happened here a few years ago with our friend Jules and absolutely I don't care about what was the reason for that. It should never happen again, ever in any category."

Latest news