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Helmut Marko

Marko explains the impact of 'Verstappen factor' on Perez

While Max Verstappen holds an 80-point lead in the World Championship standings, his teammate Sergio Perez has slipped behind. Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has given his take on why this has been the case.

Verstappen Marko
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To news overview © Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Helmut Marko believes that the "Verstappen factor" has further emphasised Max Verstappen's edge over Sergio Perez as the 2022 season has progressed.

The two Red Bull drivers appeared more evenly matched during the opening stages of the campaign, with Perez putting in a particularly strong performance in Monaco to win the race, while Verstappen placed in third.

However, Verstappen seems to have held a clear advantage in recent races, while Perez has struggled to feel as comfortable with the car.

Marko thinks that upgrades to the RB18 have been a factor in highlighting the differences between Verstappen and Perez.

"Max likes a car that is good at the front," Marko told Motorsport-total.com.

"What the rear does, doesn't really matter to him. If the rear breaks out at three hundred kilometres per hour, Perez – like all the drivers before him – says the car is undriveable, whereas Max doesn't mind that at all.

"At the beginning of the season our car was still tending towards understeer. In the end, it was about making the car as fast as possible so we could get all the potential out of it."

The influence of the "Verstappen factor"

Marko says that this process of change with the car has been a gradual one, and that it has ultimately moved the RB18 closer towards Verstappen's driving style.

"With a car that suits Max better, the 'Verstappen factor' is automatically emphasised more than before," the Austrian explained.

"And when you have such an outstanding driver in your team, it's important to get the most out of him.

"Perez may have fallen back to his normal level as a result. But being Max's teammate is not easy."

Marko names Verstappen as Red Bull's best-ever driver

Verstappen's abilities have continued to impress Marko, so much so that he has named the Dutchman as the best driver to have ever raced for Red Bull.

"That's very clear, yes. After his world title last year he has gained sovereignty without sacrificing pure speed," Marko commented.

"As a result, he is actually even faster than before without taking much risk or putting a lot of strain on the equipment."

Verstappen currently leads the 2022 World Championship by 80 points from Charles Leclerc, while Perez is five points behind Leclerc in third.

In the Constructors' standings, Ferrari trail leaders Red Bull by 97 points.

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