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Marko rues "innocent" Verstappen's "lost" points

NEWS STORY
31/10/2021

Pointing to the Azerbaijan, British and Italian Grands Prix, Red Bull's Helmut Marko believes that Max Verstappen should be heading into the final five races with a more commanding lead.

While the Dutchman heads to Mexico City with a 12-point comfort cushion, had it not been for the clashes with Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone and Monza, not to mention the tyre failure whilst leading at Baku, there is every chance the youngster could have been heading onto the season's home straight in an even stronger position.

So, says Red Bull's motorsport consultant, Helmut Marko.

"Before the last three races, we actually feared that we would be significantly behind," the Austrian admits to Motorsport.com. "The bottom line is that we scored more points than Hamilton in those Grands Prix, mainly because of Hamilton's race in Turkey where he was only fifth, while Max finished second in Sochi, certainly by luck as well, because of the rain.

"But even more remarkable is we innocently lost Baku, lost Silverstone and lost Hungary," he continues. "If you calculate the amount of points we lost, then it's over 50 points in those three races.

"As a result we are only 12 points ahead now... so we have survived all those setbacks and we have also been able to match the upswing from Mercedes."

With five rounds remaining, Marko believes his protege will need at least two more wins.

"Looking at the remaining races, we have to win at least two more races to be reasonably safe or, let's say, confident going into the final race.

"The high altitude tracks of Brazil and Mexico should suit us significantly better," he says. "It's just that so much has already happened this season. So-called Mercedes tracks weren't Mercedes tracks in the end and the same goes for Red Bull tracks."

Asked what he believes the Dutchman's chances of lifting the title at season end are, Marko replies: "If we win the next two races, then it's 60-40 for Max.

"It's so balanced that the form of the day, the tarmac and even the temperatures are extremely important," he admits.

"It looks like Mercedes is much quicker to get their car to the right set-up," he continues. "We have a more complex car and on average it takes us longer to do it, but still there are only two drivers who always get the maximum out of it. That's Hamilton at Mercedes and Max with us. The number two drivers... Perez thank God is on the up, but also Bottas, he did a sensational race in Turkey and more than average in Austin.

"But in the end these two exceptional drivers keep this duel going, no matter if it's the Mercedes car or the Red Bull that is faster. Overall, it's the driver who makes the difference. And those drivers are so strong that Verstappen can also beat a faster Mercedes on hard tyres."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Spindoctor, 04/11/2021 11:15

"Getting ahead on Lap1 is always an advantage - if you have the fastest car & especially if you drive a Mercedes with its notorious loss of performance when following. But as we saw recently getting ahead doesn't help if your opponents' cars are faster and their strategy better.

RBR has a much faster car this year as can be seen by the stats quoted by @Lapps. More thoughtful & intelligent driving by Vetrstappen & he would be many points ahead.
Marko needs to remind his favourite of the old adage: To finish 1st, 1st you gotta finish!
"

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2. Posted by dejan, 01/11/2021 20:43

"By the same account Hamilton lost points in Baku and possibly US so while you can go back and find the most optimal strategy or fix to a mistake you've done this can only help in the future and can't get those points back.

This is why you don't win the race on Saturday (except in Spa this year - another one where Verstappen benefited and Hamilton lost) and have to actually go the distance..."

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3. Posted by kenji, 01/11/2021 13:18

"@ Roli...hahah. You don't know that besides are you disputing the 'first lap' facts that I posted?"

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4. Posted by Roli, 01/11/2021 11:21

"@kenji sorry to say, but youre dreaming. Would he have won if he didnt try the move in both occasions ? The answer is simple, YES. He should have waited, both times."

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5. Posted by kenji, 01/11/2021 10:10

"@ Roli....You don't win a race on the first lap...myth. Hamilton has won a shedload of races by taking the lead on lap one and disappearing into the distance and it definitely doesn't hold water at some tracks where passing is almost impossible...Monaco is a great example. perhaps one of the greatest wins in F1 history at Monaco was when Ricciardo, down some 120HP with a damaged engine was able to win despite everything including safety cars were thrown at him. Hamilton was in panic mode when he punted Verstappen off at Silverstone as he knew that if Verstappen took the lead he would race away...another demonstration of 'first lap benefits'. "

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6. Posted by Roli, 01/11/2021 8:57

"I think Marko should spend more time coaching his petulant protege...you don't win a race on the first lap, Max should have held back at Silvertone and Monza. He would have won both races with ease, instead he scored zero points and wrecked an engine. Max is definitely the next Champion, wish he would grow up before he hurts himself. He reminds me of Stefan Bellof and look what happened there"

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7. Posted by kenji, 31/10/2021 23:46

"There's not much that Marko says that I agree with but this time he's nailed it. Baku was a cruel race and what happened was simply a function of a 'remote possibility'. Silverstone though was wrong and Hamilton should never have got away with that move. He needs a DNF to put them somewhere close to equality of actual racing. IMO Verstappen should be at a minimum of 37 points ahead. Considering the complexity of these events it would be almost impossible to say who will win this year....I certainly wouldn't be betting the 'sheep station' on a specific outcome."

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8. Posted by Lapps, 31/10/2021 13:02

"For once I agree with ‘Helmet’. If you look at the raw stats for the season (wins, fastest laps, laps lead, pole positions) max is well ahead, more than would be indicated by the points position. On that basis he would seem to be a fairly good bet for the title."

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