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F1 | Marko: “The only differentiator between Max and Hamilton is the experience”

Red Bull talent spotter, Helmut Marko is convinced Max Verstappen and Lewis have very similar driving skills. The Briton has a slight advantage because of his experience.

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F1 | Marko: “The only differentiator between Max and Hamilton is the experience”
Fuente imagen: redbullracing.com

The opening Grand Prix of the 2021 season fired up the heart of millions of fans – With the hard battle between two generations of great talents, Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, hopefully signalling a more intense fight for this season’s championship.

According to Helmut Marko, Red Bull Racing’s senior advisor and talent spotter, Dutchman Max Verstappen and the seven-time world Champion Lewis Hamilton are at a similar level when it comes to pure driving ability.

During his interview with Formel1.de, Marko revealed that Red Bull had to turn down Max Verstappen's Honda engine, due to temperature concerns.

The Dutch talent had almost secured his victory from Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, having hunted down the leader after being undercut at the first round of pitstops; however, because of a track limit and some engine problems he had to give in the position to the British superstar.

"The problems we had were primarily software-related. Nothing in the hardware, so things that you can fix with adjustments," Marko explained to Formel1.de.

This issue added up to a differential issue that caused some rear-wheel slipping for Verstappen during the race, which he complained about over team radio throughout.

"At the beginning of the race he had problems in the differential area and last sector more specifically, even drastically, up to three tenths per lap," Marko explained.

Regardless of the issues, Verstappen finished just 0.7 seconds away from Hamilton, this is why Marko claims the only differentiating factor between the young Red Bull driver and the Briton is the latter’s experience, but they’re both very similarly talented drivers.  

"What Hamilton has ahead of Max is the unbelievable routine," Marko told to the German newspaper Formel1.de

"I don't know how many races he has, how many victories. You could see that in Bahrain, how he did it tactically, how he changed lines... It was a very difficult race for Max."

Marko thinks both drivers are, "more or less equal" and "Max will at some point be able to fall back on such a wealth of experience as Hamilton."

As per their new driver, Helmut Marko believes Sergio Perez's race pace is the same as Verstappen's.

"The race speed is on the same level as Verstappen," Marko said

"When he was in free air, he set the same times so, so far, so good. Unfortunately, it wasn't like that in qualifying.

Unfortunately, the Mexican driver had a tough start of the season, after not making it into Q3 on Saturday, he suffered an electrical issue during the formation lap, which forced him to start from the pitlane. Yet, he ended up with a brilliant performance, finishing in fifth overall. Marko attributes this result to the Mexican driver's strong race speed.

"The positive thing was that he lost most of his time in one turn, Turn 1. Already during testing, in sector three, he was faster than Max on average. The only issue is: you have to get the lap together.

"But we are convinced that he will get much closer to Max in qualifying as well."

The Red Bull team will be hoping Perez has a smoother race in Imola as the battle between Perez and Valtteri Bottas might prove to be the difference-maker in the battle for this year's constructors championship.


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