Helmut Marko was grateful for Ferrari’s qualifying blunders at the Canadian Grand Prix as he reckons if they’d started higher up the grid then Red Bull’s 100th race win would’ve been under threat.
Ferrari were back at it at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with not one but two glaring errors in Saturday’s qualifying that left Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz 10th and 11th on the grid.
While Leclerc’s qualifying was undone by a late call to pit for slick tyres in Q2, poor radio communication meant Sainz was hit with a three-place grid penalty for impeding another driver.
The team-mates recovered to finish fourth and fifth but were never in the frame to challenge Max Verstappen for the race win, with the Dutchman turning his pole position into a sixth win of the season, and Red Bull’s 100th overall.
It, however, could’ve been a different story had Ferrari not started in the midfield says Marko.
“Thank God we succeeded,” the Red Bull motorsport advisor said as per Motorsport.com. “We never thought it possible to join the elite club of teams with a hundred victories.”
Red Bull are now one of five constructors to hit triple figures although they’re still a long way off Ferrari’s 242 wins.
“It certainly wasn’t easy,” Marko said of Sunday’s victory.
“We had problems getting our tyres up to temperature, especially with the hard tyres. The race was more difficult than we had anticipated.”
He added: “I have to say, thank God Ferrari had to start so far back, because they were actually the fastest on both compounds.”
But it wasn’t just Ferrari who could have put a halt to Red Bull’s winning streak with Marko revealing Verstappen had two moments during the race, one when he hit a bird and the other over the kerbs.
Coming through unscathed, he claimed the win by 9.5s ahead of Fernando Alonso.
“Max himself also had two moments,” said the 80-year-old. “First he hit a bird. That didn’t end well for the bird in question, but luckily we didn’t suffer any damage in terms of cooling or anything like that.
“The second is that he was a bit too overconfident about the kerbs. I don’t know if he saw that on TV himself, as he often has with things.
“That also shows how much thinking capacity he has left. The overview he has is incredible. What’s on the moment itself, is actually already behind him, so that he can always look forward.”
Conceding it may take a moment for the “realisation” of what they’ve achieved to hit Red Bull, Marko is expecting a huge party at the next race, the team’s home race in Austria.
“That will be a big popular party!” he added. “To be honest, it gives me a little more peace of mind to go to Austria with that hundredth victory instead of having to take it there.”
Verstappen extended his Championship lead over team-mate Sergio Perez to 69 points with the Mexican driver P6 in Montreal.