Mika Hakkinen believes Charles Leclerc deserves P2 in 2022 Drivers standings amid Serio Perez duel

Red Bull concluded the 2022 Formula One season at the limit of perfection from a sporting point of view, as clearly shown by Max Verstappen’s second consecutive world title and the team’s victory in the Constructors’ championship. The Milton Keynes team hadn’t secured a similar result since 2013, when Sebastian Vettel won his last title, but the Anglo-Austrian team cannot boast 100% absolute domination. This was due to Sergio Perez missing out on the vice-champion title, with the Mexican losing the direct challenge with Charles Leclerc, who finished second in Abu Dhabi and in the final standings.

The Monegasque from Ferrari therefore ended an undoubtedly complex 2022 Formula 1 championship with a small satisfaction after a very difficult campaign, marked by several issues, such as retirements due to power unit technical failures and strategic errors by the Maranello pit wall, without taking into consideration also a few individual mistakes from Charles. All these factors compromised a season that started off on the right foot, with race victories in the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Australian Grand Prix.

However, the end result is considered a fair one by two-time Formula One world champion Mika Hakkinen, who commended Sergio Perez for his relentless chase of Charles Leclerc during the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but felt that the Ferrari driver deserved to finish P2. In fact, in his column for the Unibet website, the Finn said that the Maranello team’s driver was the only one who could partially challenge Max Verstappen, at least in the first half of the season:

“I think Charles Leclerc drove a fantastic race to finish second and secure the second place behind Max in the world championship – explained the former McLaren driver – Checo’ Perez gave everything, but I think Charles deserves this 2nd place,” he added. “He started from pole nine times, won three Grands Prix and – in the first half of the season – looked like a real threat to Max. To finish second will definitely give him and everyone at Ferrari extra focus to challenge for the championship next year,” Mika Hakkinen explained.

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The Flying Finn then also spoke about the disappointing season for Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton, with all the difficulties that also recurred in Abu Dhabi: “It’s been a very tough year for Mercedes,” Mika Hakkinen commented. “Sunday’s race was a big disappointment, George taking a penalty and Lewis having a rare reliability problem. It is incredible to think that this is the first season in which Lewis has not won a Grand Prix since the started of his F1 career back in 2007- but somehow I think this will make him even more determined next season,” he noted. One thing is fore sure – he and Mercedes will definitely not want a repeat of 2022!” the 1998 and 1999 Formula 1 world champion concluded.

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