Double F1 champion heaps praise onto Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez won his second race of the season at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Double F1 world champion, Mika Hakkinen, has praised the efforts of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez after his results in the last two races.

The Mexican qualified second in Singapore, and passed Charles Leclerc off the line to claim the lead of the race.

He negotiated two Safety Car periods out in the lead, and came home 7.5 seconds clear of the Ferrari to claim his second win of the year, having taken his first in Monaco.

The 32-year-old then pressured the Monegasque in the closing stages of the wet Japanese Grand Prix, forcing him into an error at the final chicane.

READ: ‘What’s going on?’ Max Verstappen opens up confusion after Japanese GP

Leclerc gained an advantage by leaving the circuit, and then pushed Perez wide, earning him a five-second penalty.

He finished third as a result, and despite half the race being completed, the regulations allowed for full points, so Verstappen’s win crowned him a two-time champion.

The points Perez took off Leclerc in the last two weekends have ultimately paid dividends for the Dutchman, so Hakkinen lauded a job well done.

“Checo Perez did a brilliant job for Red Bull,” he wrote in his column for Unibet. 

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“This was a perfect race [in Singapore], taking the lead away from Charles at the start, controlling the race, making no mistakes and bringing the team the win.”

The now four-time race winner, more often than not, is there to pick up the pieces when Verstappen has an off-day, making him the “perfect team-mate.”

“When Max does not win for Red Bull, Checo is waiting to jump in. This was his second win of the year and it reminded everyone why he is the perfect team-mate to Max,” added Hakkinen.

As for Verstappen, he pulled out a 27-second lead over Leclerc and Perez in the space of just 28 laps in Suzuka last weekend after a red flag caused by Carlos Sainz – a fitting way to cap off a dominant year.

“This was a fantastic performance by Max, the kind of race you dream about when going for the world championship title,” explained Hakkinen.

“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 faster than Charles’ Ferrari – but Max managed to pull the lap together really well. 

“His race start was incredible because it looked as though Charles had taken the lead but Max has so much confidence and held on. You can use that outside line at the first corner in the wet.”

Wet conditions are known as an area where racing divers can truly prove themselves, and Verstappen did so again in Japan.

“It’s typical of what a kart racer can do, and Max used all his experience to take control and put Charles behind,” stated Hakkinen, who won his titles in 1998 and 1999.

READ: Max Verstappen hits out at Red Bull in Japan

“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.”

Verstappen and Perez will wrap up the Constructors’ Championship next weekend in Austin if they avoid losing 18 points to the Ferrari pair of Leclerc and Sainz.