Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko thought the race in Las Vegas was fantastic, especially the ‘incredible’ overtaking actions of Max Verstappen. Furthermore, the Austrian also defended the Dutchman’s previous controversial statements about the Las Vegas race, but he does not think that Verstappen should exchange his racing career for a singing career.
‘I have always said that we should only draw a conclusion here after the race. And the race was fantastic,” said Marko, speaking to De Telegraaf. The Red Bull advisor also has nothing but positive words for his pupil. ‘It was unbelievable how Max overtook other drivers lap by lap. His overtakes were just: bam, he did it.” Red Bull had made some wrong assessments regarding how good they were on the medium tires, Marko also admits. ‘We expected in advance that we would be much better on the medium band, but that was not the case. But on the other hand, we were stronger than expected on the hardest rubber. That helped us enormously.’
In the run-up to the race in the gambling city, Verstappen had a lot of criticism of the entire event, the Dutchman called it ’99 percent show and one percent sporting event’, but after the race Verstappen nuanced his judgment somewhat. ‘Now he even sang Viva Las Vegas after the race. Although I think he can better focus on his racing career,” Marko said about the Dutchman’s singing voice.
Marko defends Verstappen: ‘He is very straightforward’
Marko also defends the statements that Verstappen made prior to the Grand Prix, but says that he perhaps could have made it a bit more tactical. ‘Max is very straightforward, perhaps could have said things a bit more diplomatically, but has now made up for everything. I’m sure the organization is very happy with him now.’
The Red Bull advisor also thinks that Verstappen is feeling a bit tired after a long season. ‘You also have to take into account that we are at the end of the season. Everyone is tired, all the employees here were struggling with jet lag and had bags under their eyes. Max generally doesn’t like all kinds of marketing and PR hassle, but eighty percent of our sponsors are American and present here. I think his reaction earlier this week would have been different if we had been more at the start of the season.’
Verstappen senior also thought the Las Vegas race was great
Verstappen’s father, driver Jos Verstappen, understood better than his son why Formula 1 wanted to organize a race in Las Vegas, but hopes that the organizers will make some adjustments ahead of the 2024 edition. ‘What I regret is that we are here now. It is cold, we are wearing a thick coat and all the sessions are very late. In my opinion they need to change those times. I understand why they want to drive here, because the images are amazing. I understand that Max prefers to drive on a circuit like Suzuka, but sometimes there are circuits that are less fun. And in the end the race was absolutely great.’