Red Bull struck back from difficult weekends at Bahrain and Australia to close the gap in the Constructors’ Championship to Ferrari to just 11 points after the Imola weekend.
P1 with Verstappen and P3 with Perez in the sprint was followed by P1 and P2 in the race as the Dutchman secured his 22nd victory in F1.
Talking to Sky Sports F1 post-race, Helmut Marko believes the result was “more than important” for the morale of the team.
“It was very important [to bounce back] after our problems in Bahrain and Australia from the engine side.
“As you said, another one-two; the last one was 2016 in Malaysia so it was about time. It shows that we are competitive; we just have to get the package together and then we are there.
“For the morale and everything it’s [the one-two is] more than important.”
Understandably, Marko was feeling bullish about their car following the dominant showing at Imola and is hopeful that the title race doesn’t get decided in Abu Dhabi again in 2022.
“Twice he [Max] lost 18 points, [otherwise] he would be easily ahead… but there are so many races coming and the important thing is we know we have such a strong package, so the championship will be very exciting and hopefully doesn’t go to the last race like last year.”
A key part of 2022 is set to be the development race as teams looked to make their new machines faster.
Marko is confident Ferrari cannot match Red Bull in that area – and says they need to keep putting big heat on Ferrari after Leclerc’s difficult weekend.
“I don’t think so.
“What we also saw if we put real pressure on them, they are making mistakes. You could see Leclerc spun twice on Friday and again today.
“But I would say it’s quite a good and friendly competition between Ferrari and us.”
When asked what might have been going through the head of Hamilton when Verstappen lapped the Mercedes, the Austrian couldn’t resist mentioning retirement at the end of 2021.
“I mean he was lapped by us; maybe he should have stopped last year he is thinking… maybe.”