Verstappen Hamilton

Marko defends Verstappen over Hamilton move

Verstappen Hamilton

Helmut Marko has defended Max Verstappen for robust defensive driving during the Japanese Grand Prix, this time around Mercedes took offence with the way in which the Red Bull driver fended off Lewis Hamilton on the penultimate lap of the race at Suzuka.

Verstappen moved to cut off Hamilton’s attack as the pair hurtled into the Chicane complex. The Dutchman moved at the last moment to block the inside, forcing the Mercedes to go around him, but Hamilton ran out of tarmac and was forced to go straight.

Verstappen finished second with the world champion behind him as they crossed the line.  Mercedes made a protest to race stewards shortly after, but withdrew the complaint on the insistence of Hamilton.

Marko backed his driver and told Auto Motor und Sport, “With two laps to go, Max is not going to put on the indicators.”

“Whoever cannot get past with a Mercedes engine and DRS should calm down. At 19 years old, Max is already able to hold off a triple world champion. And on tyres that were five laps older,” added the Red Bull consultant.

Verstappen insisted, “I will not open the door to a rival and say: Come past.”

“I saw him move, so of course I closed the door on him. I think he was far enough back to see what I was doing and there was no way through,” explained the teenager.