Max Verstappen thought he had done enough to beat Lewis Hamilton at the Bahrain Grand Prix, but in the end Helmut Marko believes the Mercedes man pulled off a clever move in order to keep the Red Bull driver at bay.
The big talking point from the race came with four laps remaining when Verstappen used the DRS to pass Hamilton into Turn 4. While the Red Bull driver managed to get in front, he went off track at the exit and as a result was asked to relinquish his spot, one that he never recovered.
"According to Max, that was the sporting thing to do," Marko told ServusTV. "He wasn't even back on the ideal line when the call came that we should let Hamilton pass. I have no idea what would have happened if he hadn't done that.
"He [Hamilton] was smart, because he let himself fall back on purpose until he caught up with Verstappen again."
As a result Verstappen's tyres picked up dirt that kept the Dutchman from taking the fight to Hamilton in the closing laps of the race.
"His tyres were dead, but apparently he had a revival," Marko added. "And because of the dirt on our tyres, a final offensive by Verstappen wasn't possible."