Helmut Marko has suggested Charles Leclerc shared the same luck as Lewis Hamilton after the Ferrari driver avoided major damage despite spinning and hitting the wall at Imola.
In his efforts to catch Sergio Perez, Leclerc spun after being too aggressive going over the kerb. Despite having all four wheels off the ground at one point, the Ferrari driver came away relatively unscathed with just minor damage to the front wing.
After stopping to replace the damaged part, Leclerc produced an impressive rescue job to go from eighth to sixth in just nine laps, which meant his championship lead was only cut to 27 points.
After the race, Red Bull’s Helmut Marko implied the Monégasque shared the same luck as Lewis Hamilton and that there were signs of nerves in Leclerc’s driving.
“[The nerves] were already there on Friday in practice when he spun – but lucky, like Hamilton, unbelievable,” said Marko, as reported by Motorsport.com.
“He hits the ground and is able to continue. But that’s all right.”
Red Bull bounce back with 1-2 finish at Imola
Reb Bull knew they needed a good weekend, and they got exactly that with their drivers taking maximum points from the race.
It was a perfect weekend for Red Bull with Max Verstappen winning both the sprint and Sunday’s race, while Perez made it a one-two having fended off Leclerc. Marko highlighted Red Bull’s decision to install upgrades despite the limited practice sessions due to sprint qualifying as a major contributor of the success.
“The decisive factor was we had the courage to install our upgrade despite only one free practice session,” said Marko.
“Everything worked, which is why our aerodynamics specialist (Enrico Balbo) is on the podium.”
The 78-year-old also stressed Red Bull had never given up hope of fighting for the World Championship despite their rough start to the season which saw Verstappen finish only one of the opening three races.
“It was clear to us it [the title] was still open, but it’s very close,” Marko said.
“Ferrari are very strong and we must therefore continue to work at full speed.
“But we now have, above all, two very strong drivers. Perez is getting stronger, so from that point of view we are slightly optimistic about the future.”
Verstappen was not so forthright with his praise of the upgrades but suggested the team should wait until the next race in Miami before making any conclusions.
“I think it’s difficult to say because we had changeable conditions all weekend,” the race winner said.
“It’s always difficult to say how much the upgrades will bring, but I think they worked well.
“We had things under control a little better than in Australia. I’m just satisfied with how we performed all weekend. The fact we had everything under control is sometimes more important than the upgrades.”