Red Bull’s Marko Insists ‘Perfect’ Max Verstappen is Currently the Better F1 Driver Than Charles Leclerc

Published 05/11/2022, 12:29 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Miami Grand Prix – Miami International Autodrome, Miami, Florida, U.S. – May 8, 2022 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates on the podium after winning the Miami Grand Prix with the Miami Dolphin’s helmet REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Helmut Marko is all praises for his driver, Max Verstappen, after the Dutchman drove home to victory in Miami. The Red Bull driver finished ahead of both Ferrari’s and closed down the lead to Charles Leclerc to just 19 points in the driver standings. Speaking to Sky Sports, the Austrian mentioned that there were two decisive moments where the race was lost for the Scuderia. 

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Red Bull Advisor said, “Firstly, Max immediately managed to catch Sainz at the start. Second, he managed to follow Leclerc at just the right distance while he was putting too much strain on his tires. This resulted in the overtaking action. After that, it seemed easy, until the safety car came.”

All was going well, but a late Safety Car due to a collision between Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly caused some concerns in the Red Bull garage. It seemed like the Ferrari was able to match the Red Bulls on the hard tire. However, the reigning world champion kept his cool; and made full use of the RB18’s straight-line speed to deny Charles Leclerc a shot at victory. 

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Helmut also described the key difference between Max and Charles and why the two will be championship protagonists this year.

“We are at the same level as Ferrari. It is the track conditions and the driver that make the difference now. Leclerc and Verstappen are in their own fight. Max drives perfectly, while Leclerc still makes small mistakes. That’s the key.”

Max Verstappen not feeling easy despite the Miami GP win

One of the many patterns that follow Max’s 2022 campaign is that he either wins a race or retires. And while a back-to-back victory has brought some relief, the world champion isn’t too eased up yet. The RB18 still has some gremlins to take care of and it could cost the Milton Keynes-based outfit the championship.

The victory in Miami overshadowed the strings of difficulties that Red Bull experienced during the weekend. During the free practice session on Friday, a gearbox change saw him start FP2 late, and then an incorrectly fitted gearbox forced him to retire from the session. This started to worry Verstappen, as he hadn’t got the required running. 

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Formula One F1 – Miami Grand Prix – Miami International Autodrome, Miami, Florida, U.S. – May 8, 2022 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during the race REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo

During the race, Sergio Perez experienced a power loss and while it was quickly resolved, the Mexican felt that it cost him the podium for the race. He even insisted that they find different issues every time. 

But Red Bull boss Christian Horner is confident the team can get on top of the issues quite quickly. “I don’t think the car is particularly fragile,” said the Team Principal. 

“I think there’s just been niggly things that you would have normally seen in pre-season testing. They’ve only reared their head as we’ve got into the season.

“So that’s a bit frustrating. But we’re working closely with HRC and they’re giving us great support. I think we’ll get those ironed out.”

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While there are many rounds to go in this championship, Red Bull needs to act quickly because with Ferrari bringing upgrades to Barcelona, the fight is only going to get heated up. Any more issues could derail their championship goal. 

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Vaibhav Aatreya

66 articles

Vaibhav Aatreya is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. His ever-growing passion for the sport, combined with his willingness to learn the inside workings of Formula 1, led him to pursue his graduation in Mechanical Engineering. Having been following the world of motorsports for many years now, Vaibhav loves to pen down his thoughts, giving his take on the ongoings in the sport.

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