F1 championship leader Max Verstappen has backed Red Bull teammate Sergio Perez after he ended a dismal run of form with a podium at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Perez had failed to reach Q3 in five races prior to the Hungaroring weekend, with a number of incidents and poor performances leaving him 99 points adrift in the Drivers' standings.
The spell looked set to continue after the Mexican crashed within five minutes of the opening practice session, though a much improved qualifying run saw him take ninth on the grid.
A robust overtaking performance saw Perez clinch third by the end of the race to drop a further 11 points to Verstappen and asked if he could rate his teammate's efforts this year, the Dutchman told media including RacingNews365: "I don't like to give out numbers because you never do justice to it - I hate it.
"I really hated it at school... Letters you could also have, right? You got A, B, C.
"I never really had a lot of As at school.
"As a team in general, to have won all the races so far has been good."
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Perez's future with the team is being put under pressure by both his own performances and the return of Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri.
But Verstappen stressed: "We’re first and second in the championship so it's been good. It doesn't matter if it's perfect. It's never perfect but if it's really good, it's fine.
"We just need to keep on working. Sometimes you have a few tough moments where you make mistakes, you learn from them, you become a better driver and you move on.
"That's how it goes. Some things are also out of your control."