Helmut Marko points out the Brazil drama didn’t factor in Sergio Perez’s standings

Michelle Foster
Sergio Perez follows Max Verstappen. Sao Paulo November 2022.

Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez follow Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages. Interlagos November 2022.

Helmut Marko has been quick to point out even if Max Verstappen had helped Sergio Perez in Brazil it would’ve been “useless” given the Mexican driver’s mistake in Abu Dhabi.

Fighting Charles Leclerc to finish runner-up behind Verstappen in the Drivers’ standings, Perez was frustrated with his team-mate last time out at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix when he refused to yield sixth place.

That meant Leclerc and Perez went into the season finale tied on 290 points, the Ferrari driver ahead by virtue of three wins to Perez’s two.

Lining up second and third on the Yas Marina grid, Perez held the early advantage but ultimately lost out to the Monégasque driver as he wasn’t able to make his two-stop strategy work.

Leclerc took second in the standings by three points.

Marko was quick to make it known that it meant Brazil and the drama didn’t have an impact on the Mexican driver’s standings.

“It was a shame with Perez,” the Austrian told Sky Deutschland, “but if now the question of swapping places in Brazil comes up it would have been useless.”

Despite missing out on the 1-2 in the championship, Marko was still happy how the final race of the season panned out, Verstappen taking the win and Perez making it a double Red Bull podium.

“We have to be satisfied,” he said. “We actually did everything right in terms of strategy too.

“It was very tight in the end, but Perez made a mistake in the first phase of the race, he pushed too hard with his tyres and we had to pit him earlier than planned.

“Later he tried to overtake Hamilton, but was immediately overtaken back. That cost him 1.3 seconds.

“We were surprised that Ferrari was able to pull off the one-stop strategy with Leclerc. That wasn’t actually in our plan.”

Red Bull wrapped up the season with a 17th win for the RB18, Verstappen securing a record-breaking 15 grands prix wins in a single season. The previous record was 13.

“First and third, 17 wins, both World titles – we are overjoyed,” said Marko. “Let’s see if we can ever achieve that again. We’ll try.”

As for Perez, he says he gave it his all and that’s what counts.

“It’s like that sometimes,” said the 32-year-old. “In the end I’m happy. We gave everything, I gave everything. I’m sure we’ll come back even stronger next season.

“We had great moments and fights. I had problems with tyre management during the race quite a few times this season. Hopefully that’s something we’ll improve for next year.”

Read more: Max Verstappen: Letting Sergio Perez through wouldn’t have been ‘nicest way’ to finish