Helmut Marko reveals Lewis Hamilton fear if he was Max Verstappen’s team-mate

Sam Cooper
Race winner Max Verstappen speaking with second placed Lewis Hamilton. Spain June 2023. Jenson Button

Race winner Max Verstappen speaking with second placed Lewis Hamilton. Spain June 2023

Helmut Marko believes Lewis Hamilton would not join the same team as Max Verstappen over fears it would be another Senna-Prost situation.

The thought of Hamilton and Verstappen in the same team is tantalising for fans and the media alike but one that is unlikely to happen.

Not only would the team’s bank balance have to be astronomical but whichever team principal was in charge would have a difficult time keeping the two strong personalities happy.

Hamilton-Verstappen would be the new Senna-Prost says Helmut Marko

Over the years there have been plenty of tumultuous team-mate relationships. Hamilton himself was involved in one with Nico Rosberg while another German, Sebastian Vettel, often was at odds with Mark Webber.

But the gold standard of team-mate battles is the rivalry of Aryton Senna and Alain Prost in the late ’80s.

Both driving for McLaren, the two fought on-track and off it and it was a rivalry that continued even after Prost moved on to Ferrari.

Marko believes that is exactly the kind of situation Hamilton would want to avoid.

“The public, the TV viewers and the journalists will certainly love that,” the Austrian told Motorsport-Magazin.

“But we as team management want success and we want to win the championship – if possible both the Drivers’ and Constructors’.

“Then it is better if you have a hierarchy, where it is clear who is the clearly faster number one and who is the number two driver.

“[Lando] Norris I can still imagine but with Hamilton as a teammate, I have a hard head.

“The whole team atmosphere and our performance should not suffer. In the past, we saw, for example, Senna and Prost, two superstars, who only looked at each other and put the team in second place.”

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Christian Horner happy to be on the sidelines of Senna-Prost

Marko is not the only Red Bull employee to recall the Senna-Prost rivalry of late with Christian Horner asked about the partnership during a recent press conference.

“First of all, 1988 I was still in short trousers but watching Formula 1 as a fan, and to see Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna do what they did that year and I think it was only in Monza with a backmarker that prevented them from a clean sweep and it was a remarkable, remarkable performance,” he told media including PlanetF1.com in Spa. “And to imagine that that record has lasted 35 years, that even with the dominance we’ve seen in recent years, that it’s stood the test of time shows what a remarkable achievement it was.

“In terms of the drivers, it’s so difficult to compare drivers from different generations but Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, both legends of the sport and I think Max is rapidly joining that group, so always difficult to compare different generations.

“They got pretty sparky between the two of them and two alphas is always a difficult one to manage, so it was nice to watch that one from the sidelines.”

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