Max Verstappen quips ‘Helmut learned his lesson’ after Christian Horner bet

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen in conversation with Helmut Marko in the Red Bull garage at the 2023 Belgian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen in conversation with Helmut Marko.

Max Verstappen joked that Helmut Marko should “never bet against me” after Christian Horner won €500 from the Red Bull motorsport advisor after qualifying in Abu Dhabi.

Verstappen had been struggling with his car throughout free practice at Yas Marina, claiming his car had been bouncing around like a “kangaroo” as he fought for control of it.

But he eventually took a record-equally 16th pole of the season when it came to qualifying, edging out Charles Leclerc in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Max Verstappen: Helmut Marko ‘should never bet against me’

After pole position was confirmed for the Red Bull driver, his team principal took to the airwaves to let him know that he was made a little bit richer as a result of how qualifying turned out, as Marko did not think Verstappen would make it onto the front row.

“Well done mate, you’ve just won me €500 off Helmut, which is like getting blood out of a stone,” Horner told Verstappen over team radio after he secured pole in Abu Dhabi.

“So, fantastic job!”

“Huh, Helmut lost a bet?” Verstappen replied. “What world are we living in?”

Horner then retorted: “Exactly! The bet was for you to be on the front row, mate.”

PlanetF1.com recommends

F1 2023: Head-to-head qualifying and race stats between team-mates

F1 driver contracts: What is the current contract status of every driver on the 2023 grid?

He felt the setup choices made by Red Bull were something of a “gamble” in themselves, but Verstappen held praise for race engineer Gianpiero Lambiase for the solution they found to make the car more to his liking come Saturday night.

“Well, first of all, I think Helmut learned his lesson, never bet against me!” Verstappen said with a laugh after qualifying.

“Yeah, of course, it’s always a bit of a gamble because you don’t know. I mean, we already tried a lot of things on the car which didn’t really seem to solve the problem.

“But I think GP stayed calm, and he definitely went through a lot of options and then with my feedback, you know, he came up with a very good setup for qualifying.

“So of course very, very happy with that, but of course it’s always a bit of a gamble. You’re never 100% sure.”

Read next: Abu Dhabi GP: Max Verstappen pips Leclerc to pole for finale as Sainz, Hamilton toil