Helmut Marko reveals Turn 1 bet and lambasts driver for ‘three stupid mistakes’

Michelle Foster
Helmut Marko speaking with Yuki Tsunoda and Sergio Perez. Britain July 2023

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko speaking with Yuki Tsunoda and Sergio Perez. Britain July 2023

Helmut Marko had a bet with Max Verstappen’s race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase about the World Champion’s start in Mexico, the Red Bull advisor winning that one.

Although Verstappen lined up third behind the Ferrari teammates on the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez grid, he was first at Turn 1 as he stormed past Carlos Sainz and then nudged his way up the inside of Charles Leclerc.

It was an epic start, reminisce of his 2021 pass on the two Mercedes drivers, and it set him up for his 16th win of the season.

Contrasting fortunes for the Red Bull teammates

And it meant Marko won a bet with ‘GP’.

“Max actually did everything well, and his start was a masterpiece,” the Austrian told Motorsport.com.

“I had made a bet with Gianpiero Lambiase about who would lead after Turn 1. GP lost that bet. I don’t bet with Max anymore, but I do with GP. It was the second time and I also won twice.”

He continued: “The good start allowed Max to do his own thing. He was actually controlling the race as usual.

“The red flag just came at an unfortunate time for us. Without it, I think our dominance could have been even greater.”

Verstappen still clinched the win by 13.8s ahead of Lewis Hamilton, but the Dutchman was Red Bull’s only finisher with Sergio Perez out on the first lap.

The Mexican driver tried to join his teammate up at the front but instead crashed into Charles Leclerc with the damage to his RB19 putting him out of the race.

“Whether it was a mistake? I would mainly say a racing incident. He had a much better start than Sainz and was actually ahead of Leclerc, which made it unfortunate that they hit each other,” said Marko.

Surprising the 80-year-old says he understands why Perez wanted to go for it.

“If you have such an extremely enthusiastic home crowd, then it is logical that you go for the win. I don’t think it was an all-or-nothing move,” he said. “I understand that he went for it in that position.

“When he was still in his car in the pit box, he really wanted to continue, but that was no longer possible. There was not only a big hole in the sidepod , but also some essential parts of the car were damaged.”

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Praise for Daniel Ricciardo, Yuki Tsunoda made ‘stupid’ mistakes

The Austrian also weighed in on Red Bull’s junior team AlphaTauri with Daniel Ricciardo qualifying a highly impressive fourth before racing his way to seventh place.

That marked AlphaTauri’s best result of the season in the Aussie’s second race back after his two-month injury lay-off.

But on the other side of the garage, Yuki Tsunoda finished down in 12th place after crashing with Oscar Piastri, the McLaren driver accusing Tsunoda of “chopping across” the nose of his MCL60.

“Daniel drove a super race,” said Marko. “If the Grand Prix had been one lap longer, he would have caught Russell. It also shows how fast the AlphaTauri car can be nowadays..

“Yuki was also fast, but he made not one but three stupid mistakes. He should have just finished eighth.”

Ricciardo’s six points elevated AlphaTauri from 10th to eighth in the Constructors’ standings.

Read next: Helmut Marko on Sergio Perez future: ‘How many times do I have to repeat this?’