Although he was unsuccessful in his attempt to challenge Max Verstappen for the World Championship, Sergio Perez has praised the accomplishments of his Red Bull teammate in 2022.
Despite not having the opportunity to compete for the title himself, Sergio Perez has been left feeling “extremely happy” of Max Verstappen’s pursuit of it in 2022.
Red Bull had a rough beginning for the season with reliability concerns throughout the first few races, but as the season went on, the team recovered, with Perez especially powerful after conquering the Monaco Grand Prix.
Verstappen became more and more dominant over the course of the rest of the season, despite Perez appearing to be on track to compete with him for the championship.
Verstappen eventually won the shortened Japanese Grand Prix, securing his second World Championship. Perez completed the race in P2, having moved up after Charles Leclerc, who had completed in second place, was given a five-second time penalty for cutting a chicane on the closing laps while attempting to hold off Perez.
Perez responds to Verstappen winning the 2022 championship
After the race, Perez acknowledged that Verstappen’s growth as a racer over the course of 2022 had surprised him.
“I am very proud of what Max has done this season; he has stepped up as a driver,” Perez explained.
“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.”
The title was won at Suzuka, the home race of Red Bull’s partner, Honda, and the Mexican was happy to witness that.
“It is a massive day for the team, to do this in Japan in front on Honda and with a 1-2 is incredible,” he added.
“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.”
A “tough fight” between Leclerc in Japan
Perez reflected on the Grand Prix, which was postponed by two hours owing to rainfall before continuing for 28 laps, and said he really liked his duel with Leclerc in the race’s closing moments.
“It was a great battle with Charles today,” the four-time race winner said.
“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 [Drag Reduction System] but I kept the pressure on.
“He made the mistake and he got the penalty to give me P2.”
With just one point distancing him from Leclerc in the World Championship rankings, Perez has now climbed to second place.
Sergio Perez, F1, F1 2022, Formula 1, Grand Prix, Japanese GP, Max Verstappen, Red Bull