Helmut Marko to teach Max Verstappen a lesson after broken trophy

Jamie Woodhouse
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen with his hand to his head, speaking with Helmut Marko and Christian Horner. Baku April 2023

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen with his hand to his head, speaking with Helmut Marko and Christian Horner. Baku April 2023

Max Verstappen was not too upset with Lando Norris for smashing his Hungarian GP winner’s trophy, but he may look at it as a more serious matter when Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko is through talking to him on the matter.

Verstappen and Norris celebrated on the top two steps of the Hungarian Grand Prix podium, but Norris’ trademark bottle celebration went horribly wrong when the impact of him hitting the bottle on the top step caused Verstappen’s P1 trophy to fall off and smash on the floor below.

The manufacturer of the trophy though, Herendi Porcelain, have saved the day by confirming that a new edition is in production for Verstappen.

Max Verstappen smashed trophy no laughing matter for Helmut Marko

While Verstappen and Norris saw the funny side of the incident, Marko absolutely did not, pointing out the important place of porcelain in Hungarian culture.

And so, he intends to make the significance of it quite clear to Verstappen.

“The Hungarians are famous for their love for valuable porcelain,” Marko told oe24. “Even in my day, there were beautiful bowls and vases.

“The copy of the trophy is coming to us at the factory, and I’ll teach Max to appreciate the original that he’s getting replaced.

“That’s Hungarian tradition and young people have to understand that.”

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Just as talk was growing that Red Bull’s margin of dominance in F1 2023 is starting to wane, Lewis Hamilton claiming pole in Hungary to push that narrative further, Verstappen silenced it with his biggest winning margin of the season, crossing the line almost 34 seconds ahead of Norris.

Alarmingly, Marko said Verstappen was also nowhere near driving at the maximum pace he was capable of.

“We’re way ahead [of everyone] when it comes to race trim,” Marko claimed.

“Max actually could have driven even faster, he wasn’t at the limit by a long shot.”

Rain at Spa will hinder not help Max Verstappen rivals

Verstappen’s Hungarian GP victory ensured that Red Bull broke McLaren’s record, which had stood since 1988, with their 12th consecutive win, and now only one round remains before the summer break as Red Bull look to reach that point undefeated.

That is the Belgian Grand Prix, and considering that Verstappen went from P14 on the grid to runaway victor here last year, already the odds are very firmly stacked against the competition.

Of course, the weather at Spa-Francorchamps is often unpredictable, and rain is in the forecast for the race weekend.

But, if that means rivals are getting their hopes up that an opportunity may emerge, Marko warns that a wet Spa track will only make Verstappen even more dominant.

“And that’s where Verstappen’s superiority will show itself even more blatantly,” said Marko to the prospect of rain at the Belgian GP.

Verstappen takes a colossal lead of 110 points at the top of the Drivers’ Championship over Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez into the race weekend, where the sprint format will offer even greater points-scoring potential.

Read next: Unpredictable Spa could pose threat to Red Bull’s latest record attempt