HomeSportsFormula 1Max Verstappen took Red Bull car ‘over the limit’, team boss claims

Max Verstappen took Red Bull car ‘over the limit’, team boss claims

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has praised Max Verstappen’s drive to secure his first world title at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, saying the Dutchman pushed his car “over the limit” to snatch the win.

Verstappen passed Lewis Hamilton on the final lap of the Yas Marina Circuit to seal the Drivers’ Championship in dramatic fashion after the intervention of race director Michael Masi.

Marko has overseen Red Bull’s driver development programme since 1999, and helped guide Verstappen into Formula 1.

The 78-year-old hailed the world champion for both his driving talent and will to win, suggesting that Hamilton now knows he cannot afford to leave any space for the aggressive Dutch driver.

“You could see that [Verstappen] drove the car so over the limit, that was visible,” Marko told Austrian magazine Autorevue, via GPFans.

“And in the races, Hamilton should already know that you can’t leave the smallest gap open at Verstappen.

“He’s already stabbing you before the other person sees him in the rear-view mirror.

“This incredible willpower with the necessary talent makes all the difference.”

Verstappen’s first world title ended a seven-year run of dominance for Mercedes in the Drivers’ Championship, and denied Hamilton a record eighth title.

The Mercedes driver is tied with Michael Schumacher as the most successful F1 driver in history.

Marko believes Verstappen, 24, could end up being talked about in similar terms to the pair and other greats, recognising shared traits that the Dutchman also possesses.

“It’s impossible to compare because they’re different periods but what they all have is a complete focus,” Marko elaborated on Verstappen’s comparisons with Schumacher and Ayrton Senna.

“You could also call it ruthlessness. There is nothing else but ‘I want to win and I’ll do anything for it’.

“And they grow beyond possibilities that don’t normally exist. That reminds me of Max’s qualifying lap in Jeddah, even if it didn’t work out then.”

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