Helmut Marko makes Lewis Hamilton ‘correction’ after George Russell crash

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull's Helmut Marko and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton pictured over the Singapore GP weekend.

Red Bull's Helmut Marko and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton pictured over the Singapore GP weekend.

To the suggestion that Lewis Hamilton is now making mistakes after his Qatar GP shunt, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko said it is rather now he is “admitting” them, a nod to past clashes with Max Verstappen.

Mercedes and Hamilton suffered a Qatar Grand Prix to forget as Hamilton collided with team-mate George Russell at the opening corner.

While Russell was able to recover from his spin to ultimately finish P4, Hamilton was out on the spot.

Helmut Marko: Lewis Hamilton now “admits” mistakes

While initially claiming on team radio that Russell had taken him out, Hamilton soon changed his mind after watching the replays, at that point taking full responsibility for the collision.

The seven-time World Champion had attempted to go around the outside of Russell on soft tyres, versus Russell’s mediums, though left Russell with nowhere to go with Red Bull’s Verstappen on his other side, resulting in the crash.

However, to the suggestion from OE24 that errors are now creeping into Hamilton’s game, Marko said it is rather the Mercedes driver is now owning up to them.

“May I correct that, please: Now he’s starting to admit mistakes,” Marko affirmed.

Marko is referring to Hamilton’s past battles with Verstappen, which primarily during their epic 2021 tussle for the Drivers’ Championship, led to multiple heavy shunts.

Most memorable were the Silverstone incident, where the drivers tagged at Copse as Verstappen was sent hurtling into the barriers, before at Monza the pair came together in the opening chicane, resulting in Verstappen’s Red Bull landing on top of Hamilton’s Mercedes.

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While Hamilton’s 2023 Qatar GP met a very early end, Verstappen drove on to victory on the day after he had become a three-time World Champion.

That was Verstappen’s 14th win of F1 2023, a victory which was claimed in searing heat which left several drivers in need of a trip to the medical centre, while Logan Sargeant retired mid-race, too ill to carry on.

Verstappen was not one of those drivers to greatly suffer, so Marko was asked whether he agreed with a claim from former Ferrari and McLaren racer Gerhard Berger, who, when appearing on Red Bull-owned Servus TV, put the situation down to a matter of fitness, dismissing the suggestion that the drivers were pushed too far by going out to race in those conditions.

Marko was in agreement, though admitted Verstappen was in a position where he could afford some less intense laps, with the mandatory three-stop race, due to concerns over the Pirelli tyres, having made it a race of flat-out pushing for the pack.

“For sure. Max was still well together at the finish,” said Marko in response to Berger’s claim.

“But he also had the advantage that after the pit stops he could drive three or four laps at a leisurely pace until he had the tyres up to temperature. The others probably always had to drive at full speed.”

Should Verstappen claim victory next time out in Austin, he will match the record he set last year of 15 grand prix wins in a single season.

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