Red Bull Racing top advisor Helmut Marko indicated that Max Vestappen could no longer be contained after he received that five-second penalty and really showed what he was capable of on the hard tire. According to the Austrian, Verstappen drove aggressively, but fairly. The 80-year-old is satisfied with the weekend in Las Vegas and very proud that Red Bull has again achieved something that has never happened before.
Verstappen won his 53rd victory in Las Vegas, but he certainly did not receive it as a gift. After pushing Charles Leclerc off the track in the first corner during the opening lap, the Dutchman was given a five-second time penalty. He relieved him at his first pit stop, returning to the track at the bottom of the midfield. ‘We had higher wear on the medium tire than we expected. Ferrari was better in that area,” Marko said in conversation with the Austrian branch of Sky Sports.
‘After the punishment you noticed on the on-board radio that Max was now really on fire. He showed what he has to offer on the hard tire. He drove aggressively, but fairly,” says the 80-year-old, recalling the battle with George Russell and the other drivers he overtook on the track. “When he got out of the DRS (from Leclerc, ed.) he drove calmly and we knew we could drive home without any worries,” said Marko. Verstappen is tied with four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel with 53 victories. Earlier in the 2023 season he had already passed Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
‘This season would have been a blemish if we had not achieved that’
Before the weekend in Las Vegas, Sergio Pérez had a mission: to take P2 in the championship. He was still in a battle with Lewis Hamilton, who also wanted to make his move. By taking P3 in the race, the Mexican also secured his place in the championship. ‘After this season we have somehow become immodest. This season would have been a blemish if we had not achieved that,” says Marko about the fact that Red Bull has broken the record for most wins by a team in a season. “We are very proud of it,” said the Austrian.