verstappen hamilton marko

Marko: Hamilton at his peak but age is slowly coming into play

verstappen hamilton marko

Helmut Marko was satisfied with his team’s performance in the recent three days of Formula 1 pre-season testing in Barcelona, the Red Bull consultant confident they have a good car in the RB18 and, with that out the way, he was not shy to have a dig at Lewis Hamilton.

While summing up their season with optimism and trumpeting Red Bull ace Max Verstappen, Marko could not resist a swipe at the 37-year-old Mercedes superstar, still the opponent they should fear most, suggesting the seven-time F1 World Champion’s days are numbered.

“Hamilton delivered an incredible second half of the season. I can hardly imagine that he can drive at this level for much longer. He’s now at his peak, but age is slowly coming into play,” reckoned Marko.

Marko: I’m sure we had more fuel onboard compared to most of the others

As for 24-year-old Verstappen, the Austrian motorsport veteran is on record saying: “He is now World Champion and he will get even stronger.”

Marko was also bullish when summing up the three days of testing in Spain, speaking to F1-Insider: “We are satisfied. I’m sure we had more fuel onboard compared to most of the others. I think we are on par with Mercedes and just ahead of Ferrari.”

Mercedes of course topped the timing screens on the final day at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya with Lewis Hamilton a tad faster than his new Silver Arrows teammate George Russell. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez was third, with their World Champion Max Verstappen sixth.

But for now, that is of no concern as Verstappen admitted after the three days in Spain: “I don’t really pay attention to the lap times yet; we will look into that in Q3 in Bahrain.”

Marko: I don’t think it’s right that Masi was cut off like that

Rewinding to last year’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in which Red Bull were the surprise winners on a night they had all but lost the 2021 Title race, but a five-minute fiasco at the very end played into their hands, with Verstappen seizing the opportunity to win the one-lap sprint that decided the Title.

To cut a long story short, the FIA who fumbled the officiating throughout the 2021 season, leaving Michael Masi out on a limb when the proverbial ‘shit-hit-the-fan’ and the Aussie was made the FIA’s scapegoat, as the new reign of Mohammed Ben Sulayem saw to put order to the mess Jean Todt left behind.

But Marko, like Verstappen and Horner, believes Masi was done a dirty by his bosses: “I don’t think it’s right that he was cut off like that. You shouldn’t question Masi as a person, but rather his job definition.”

“In the meantime, a modern solution is being used in the background, like in football with video evidence. This is the way of the future,” added Marko

The Red Bull man was referencing the state-of-the-art race officiating tools introduced by the FIA set to be used by the F1’s two new race directors Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas backed by Charlie Whiting’s right-hand-man Herbie Blash back as chief adviser. Infrastructure Masi was denied off.