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Helmut Marko

Marko hails Tsunoda after Japan: ‘On par with Verstappen’

Yuki Tsunoda impressed Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko in Japan after scoring his first points at the Suzuka Circuit.

To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has praised Yuki Tsunoda for his performance at the Japanese Grand Prix, stating it was “on par” with race-winner Max Verstappen.

Tsunoda crossed the line in 10th place to score his first points on home soil having finished outside the top 10 at his first two visits in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

It marked Tsunoda's second point-scoring finish in a row after the RB driver bagged seventh at the Australian Grand Prix.

Tsunoda was the squad's only hope of points in Japan after team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was involved in a race-ending collision with Alex Albon on the opening lap, resulting in a red flag and a standing restart.

“Yuki got away sensationally well at the second start,” Marko reflected, writing in a column for Speedweek.

“His overtaking manoeuvres were the show of the day. The fans were completely over the moon.

“His weekend was on a par with Max, [Fernando] Alonso and co. [He was] faultless, a super performance under the pressure of his home race.”

Perez praise

Marko also complimented Sergio Perez who scored his third second-place finish of the season behind team-mate Verstappen.

The Mexican is enjoying a strong start to the campaign after a challenging period last year prompted question marks over his future within the team.

However, Marko commented that Perez, who is currently in his fourth season with Red Bull, is having his strongest term with the team to date.

“Checo was also very solid,” Marko said.

“He was unlucky at the pit stop, but he got himself back into the game with a great manoeuvre against Hamilton in the 130R corner.

“He is definitely having his best season with us so far.”

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