Helmut Marko was quick to point out that even if Max Verstappen had helped Sergio Perez in Brazil, it would have been “pointless” given the Mexican driver’s result in Abu Dhabi.
Last weekend in Brazil, when he was sixth, Verstappen refused to swap positions with team-mate Sergio Perez during the race, as he was still fighting for second place in the championship. At the end of the Interlagos Grand Prix, the Mexican was tied on points with Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.
On Sunday, Perez started second on the grid in Abu Dhabi just ahead of Charles Leclerc. The Mexican driver took an early lead but eventually lost his battle with the Monegasque as he was unable to make his two-stop strategy work. Charles Leclerc therefore took second place in the Grand Prix and, de facto, second place in the drivers’ standings with three points more than Sergio Perez.
“Switching positions would have been pointless”
Red Bull advisor Dr Hemult Marko explained that this meant that the controversy in Brazil did not affect the Mexican driver’s position in the standings. Indeed, had Verstappen left him sixth in Brazil, Charles Leclerc would still have had a one-point lead over Perez at the end of the Abu Dhabi race.
“It’s a shame for Perez,” said the Austrian. The Austrian told Sky Germany, “but if now the question of swapping places in Brazil came up, it would have been pointless.”
Although Red Bull missed out on the drivers’ championship double, Helmut Marko seemed satisfied with the way the final race of the season went. Max Verstappen took his 15th win of the season and Sergio Perez finished third.
“We have to be satisfied,” he said. “In fact, we did everything right in terms of strategy.”
“It was very close at the end, but Perez made a mistake in the first phase of the race, he pushed too much with his tyres and we had to pit him earlier than expected.”
“Later he tried to pass Hamilton, but he was immediately passed. This cost him 1.3 seconds.”
“We were surprised that Ferrari were able to implement the one-stop strategy with Leclerc. That’s not what we expected.”
“First and third, 17 wins, the two world titles – we are delighted,” said Marko. “Let’s see if we can do it again one day. We will try.”