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Helmut Marko

Marko outlines gap between Verstappen and Perez

The Red Bull advisor pinpoints where Verstappen had the edge over his teammate during the year.

Perez Japan wet
To news overview © Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

It's no secret that Sergio Perez has struggled to match Max Verstappen's dominance in 2022.

Whether it is the curse of the second Red Bull seat or Verstappen's step up since winning his first title, the fact is that the Mexican only has two wins in Monaco and Singapore compared to the record 14 victories amassed by the Dutchman.

Following his podium at Mexico, Perez goes into the final two races battling for P2 in the Drivers' Championship ahead of Charles Leclerc with a maximum of 58 points up for grabs.

Red Bull Advisor Helmut Marko says the battle is providing an extra motivation for the team as they close the championship year.

"If you have already achieved everything possible, then you go the extra mile, because you also need some kind of incentive to keep people motivated," said the Austrian, speaking to Auto Motor und Sport.

Marko: Verstappen 'just as quick as Perez' with a car that does not suit him

The average gap between Verstappen and Perez in qualifying has been nearly half a second throughout the season, the largest out of the top three teams.

Critics have pointed towards the team making a car that is more suited to Verstappen's driving style, thus making it harder for Perez to get the right setup window.

However Marko dismisses these claims, saying it the RB18 initially didn't suit Verstappen and that he had to adapt to the car at the start of the season.

"That is of course nonsense," he said. "The biggest problem was that the car was overweight, at the moment we are still above the minimum weight."

"There wasn't much wrong with the aerodynamics from day one. However, I never believed it would go so well this year.

"What was Max saying in Australia again? 'I need 36 races to overtake Leclerc?' That would have been a bit difficult in one season.

"After that, we accelerated our [development] program. The errors were analysed: the first two outages were on the side of Red Bull. The third problem was on the side of Honda. Then we improved the quality control."

While the RB18 has undoubtably been one of Red Bull's best cars since joining the grid, Marko believes it was a combination of driver talent and car performance that enabled them to dominate this year.

"It is both," he explains. "At the start of the season you saw that Max is just as fast as Checo with a car that did not suit his driving style.

"If the car does suit Verstappen, then he is half a second faster."

Also interesting:

Video: F1 pit-stops under two seconds are allowed (and THIS is why)

At the Mexico City Grand Prix, McLaren became the first team to complete a sub-two second pit-stop since the introduction of the new F1 pit-stop regulations, changing all four tyres on Daniel Ricciardo's car in 1.98 seconds.

So how did the team do this, and what changes have been made to F1's pit-stop procedure in the last couple of years?


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