Helmut Marko shuts down Mercedes as Red Bull rivalry reignites

Thomas Maher
Red Bull driver Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton.

The rest of the field have one aim – beat Max Verstappen.

The Mercedes and Red Bull outfits may be needling at each other again in recent times, but Helmut Marko has no interest in engaging at the moment.

Two years ago, the Red Bull vs. Mercedes battle was in full swing, with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s collision at the Italian Grand Prix marking one of the key flash points of that season’s war.

With Red Bull coming out on top, and Mercedes falling back from the sharp end as the new ground-effect era began in 2022, the bitter back-and-forth between the two sides largely dissipated until the spat recently started back up again.

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton tiff resumes

While Verstappen has broken the record for the most consecutive race victories as he closes in on his third consecutive Drivers’ Championship win, it prompted Lewis Hamilton to point out that he has raced against stronger teammates than Verstappen has had to contend with.

It led to a war of words breaking out through the media over the Italian GP weekend, with Verstappen claiming Hamilton is “jealous” of his current success, while also labelling Toto Wolff’s comments that the RB19 has been developed around the Dutch driver as “bulls**t”.

Christian Horner weighed in too, saying that Wolff’s comments had shown a “fundamental lack of understanding” about cars and their development, with Wolff seeking to get one back against Red Bull a few days later by saying that Verstappen’s record-breaking run is only good for “Wikipedia”.

The back-and-forth is likely to continue, given the history between the two sides, but Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko has said his side aren’t particularly interested in what Mercedes have to say, given they aren’t “serious” competitors.

“That’s the difference [between Mercedes and us],” he told media over the Italian GP weekend.

“We look at our team to get the best performance from our own team, and we don’t worry about Mercedes as long as they are not a serious competitor for us.

“So we just look after our own thing, we do the best we can and we don’t make up all those kind of stories like they do.”

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Helmut Marko: 10 consecutive wins ‘fantastic’ for Max Verstappen

With Verstappen’s streak of dominance being underplayed by Mercedes, Marko attempted to make up for it by praising his driver.

“For Max [Verstappen], this winning streak means a lot,” he said.

“For me personally, getting the 100th win as a team was even more special than this, but it’s fantastic for Max.”

“He was a bit nervous about getting it here as well. I think it was very important for him to break that record, now he’s got it, so I think he’s a bit more relaxed for the next races,”Marko concluded, as Red Bull close in on Williams for the position of the fourth most successful team in the history of the sport.

Williams are currently on 114 wins as a constructor, with Red Bull now moving up to 106. Mercedes are on 125 and, given their current respective win ratios, Red Bull may be able to surpass the German marque’s record by the end of 2024.

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