Helmut Marko has said Max Verstappen’s 2022 performances have made him sure the Dutchman is the best Red Bull driver ever.
There is no doubt Verstappen has raised his game this season. Having come out victorious in a season-long grudge match against Lewis Hamilton, he entered 2022 with an air of accomplishment and as someone who no longer had a point to prove.
The Dutchman has been praised for his maturity and level-headedness on track this season, something he did not always show at the start of his career, and as a result he has put in a dominant performance so far.
Verstappen has won eight of the 13 races so far, almost two thirds, and could afford to finish second in every race between now and the season’s end and still be crowned World Champion for the second time in his career.
Red Bull appear open to letting Pierre Gasly go
With one season left on his contract, is it time for Pierre Gasly to move on from Red Bull?
The Dutchman is only the second Red Bull driver to have been named World Champion and following Sebastian Vettel’s retirement announcement, questions have been raised as to which of the two is the better driver.
Vettel has four titles but Verstappen has time on his side and his talent has always been heralded as once-in-a-generation.
Red Bull special advisor Marko said as far back as January he now believes the Dutchman is the best to ever have raced for the team and has reiterated that point more recently, saying he has gained confidence without losing speed.
Halfway through the summer break but gearing up for the second part of the season
— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) August 15, 2022
He was asked by motorsport-total.com if Verstappen was the best and his answer was a resounding “yes”.
“Quite clearly,” Marko said. “After winning the World Championship, he has gained confidence without the speed suffering. And he is even faster with less risk and less material wear.”
With Ferrari continuing to shoot themselves in the foot, Verstappen’s 80-point lead at the top of the Drivers’ Championship is beginning to look unassailable. Despite the fact Verstappen could fail to win another race in 2022 and still be crowned champion, Marko believes the Dutchman needs another “three or four races” to truly confirm it.
“That [not winning another race] is not our goal and it would be extremely risky. We saw that last year when we then suddenly only managed second places.
“We still have to win three or four races if the balance of power remains like this. If Mercedes can still race for wins on their own, that would be rather better for us and worse for Ferrari. Because Ferrari have to score optimally to have a chance.”