Helmut Marko picks out Max Verstappen move that was ‘out of this world’

Henry Valantine
Red Bull's Max Verstappen leads Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at the Japanese Grand Prix. Suzuka, October 2022. points

Red Bull's Max Verstappen leads Ferrari's Charles Leclerc at the Japanese Grand Prix. Suzuka, October 2022.

Helmut Marko has said Max Verstappen has yet to reach the top of his powers as a driver, and his pass around the outside of Charles Leclerc at Suzuka was “out of this world”.

The Ferrari driver got the better getaway of the two from the front row in the wet in Japan and while Leclerc had his nose in front heading into the first two corners, Verstappen held on and threw his RB18 around the outside of the Ferrari.

He managed to keep his car on track and hold on to the lead in a daring move, and after the race had been stopped and restarted he managed to pull out a 27-second lead over Leclerc in just 28 laps.

Verstappen was told after the race he had become World Champion for the second time and once the feeling had sunk in, he was able to celebrate with Red Bull that night.

But having taken a second consecutive title and a 32nd race win, Red Bull motorsport advisor Marko thinks there is still plenty to come from him yet.

In an interview with OE24, Marko said: “He is still young and still not at the peak of his powers. The way he has reeled off his races this year was really impressive and the way he overtook Leclerc on the outside after the start in Suzuka was out of this world.”

Verstappen took his 12th win of the season in Japan with four attempts to level – and possibly surpass – the record of 13 held by Michael Schumacher and Sebastian Vettel in the 2004 and 2013 seasons respectively.

Marko seems confident in his driver’s ability to do that, but wants to consolidate a Drivers’ Championship 1-2 in the process.

“The 13 wins will come true and if possible, a 14th,” he said. “But then it would be more important for us that Perez secures his second place.”

Max Verstappen has overtaken ruthlessly all year

Verstappen has put himself clear in the distance early on quite a few times this year, although his racing through the field has been just as impressive.

His wins from mid-pack at Spa and Hungary in particular stand out not just for the achievement of battling through to the front so quickly, but with the way he has managed to make it look easy at times.

His overall drive at Suzuka showed the combination of he and the Red Bull RB18 this season has been an irresistible partnership in race trim in particular, propelling him to a second title.

Read more: ‘Max Verstappen would still have been World Champion driving for Ferrari’