Helmut Marko rules out a Max Verstappen win, ‘won’t be possible to catch up’

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen scrunched up face. Singapore October 2022

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen scrunched up face. Singapore October 2022

Lining up P8 after running short of fuel in qualifying, Helmut Marko has ruled out Max Verstappen fighting for the win at the Singapore Grand Prix.

Verstappen was left furious with Red Bull when he was told to box as he neared the end of his final hot lap in qualifying at the Marina Bay circuit.

He raged at the team: “What the f*** are you guys saying? Unbelievable, mate. I don’t get it, what the f*** is this about?”

Red Bull later confirmed they had not put enough fuel in the car for Verstappen to complete that lap and still have enough for the FIA’s post-qualifying test.

As such, Verstappen is only eighth on the grid at a track where overtaking is notoriously difficult.

“It won’t be possible to catch up like we did in Hungary on this track,” Marko lamented to Auto Motor und Sport.

Back at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Verstappen raced from 10th on the grid to victory, while at the next race, in Belgium, he started 14th and won by 17 seconds.

“Instead of pole position or at least the first row, now eighth, that’s a very difficult starting position. It’s very difficult to overtake here,” Marko added to Sky Deutschland.

The 79-year-old explained what went wrong with the fuel situation.

“Our penultimate lap would have been enough for pole position,” he reckons. “But we calculated with the ever-improving track and then ran up too close to Pierre Gasly to optimally complete the last lap to drive.

“During the discussion we overlooked the fact we had only refuelled for five laps, which is why we had to abort the last lap.

“That’s annoying. Factors came together, hectic, then something like that can happen to us too.”

Red Bull did not have an option but to abort Verstappen’s lap otherwise instead of P8, he would have fallen to the very back of the grid.

“Then they would have disqualified us,” Marko stated, the punishment for any car that does not have enough fuel for the FIA’s post-session check.

Verstappen has since defended his right to rage at Red Bull for making a mistake, “because when I f*** up they can also tell me that”.

Former F1 driver turned pundit Timo Glock says Verstappen was right to voice his thoughts.

“Of course he’s right,” said the German. “You have to see beforehand that six laps won’t work if you only have fuel on board for five.

“Two, three years ago he might have stood there and not spoken a word. And now a clear statement. I find that very impressive about him and it also shows how clear his head is.”

Looking ahead to the race, Glock says “chaos” is what Verstappen needs.

“Of course, with Charles Leclerc and Sergio Perez on the front row, he has to hope for a lot of chaos,” he added.

Read more: F1 2022 title permutations: How can Max Verstappen win the title in Singapore?