Red Bull don’t want to win title ‘after eight incidents’

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen walks away from crash. Italy September 2021

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen walks away from Lewis Hamilton and their crashed cars, both still smoking from their brakes. Italy September 2021

Two very different drivers with contrasting team philosophies but with one goal in mind, Helmut Marko does not want this year’s title to be decided by “incidents”.

This season, Formula 1 is witnessing the battle many fans had wished for, Max Verstappen versus Lewis Hamilton for the World title.

The latter finally has outside competition when it comes to the Drivers’ title and his bid for a record-breaking eighth is on the line with Verstappen leading the standings.

The Dutchman, who has bagged seven race wins to Hamilton’s four, has a slender five-point advantage.

It could have been a lot more were it not for his British Grand Prix crash, the result of contact with Hamilton. While Verstappen’s race ended in the barriers, Hamilton took the win.

It was the first of two big crashes for the title protagonists with neither scoring at the Italian Grand Prix where they collided mid-race, both in the gravel and out of the race.

But while Monza saw neither score, Verstappen’s Silverstone DNF showed how a championship could swing if one of the two hopefuls came off second best in a collision.

Marko is hoping when it comes down to it at the season finale in Abu Dhabi, Verstappen will be P1 on merit and not because he stayed ahead because of incidents between the two.

“We are ahead,” he told RTL, “but we want to strengthen our leadership by obtaining great results and not defending the first position at the end of the season after eight incidents.”

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While the first 10 or so races of this season, despite a few moments of trading paint and losing bits of front wing, saw Verstappen and Hamilton smiling and congratulating one another, the tone seems to have changed after Silverstone.

The two were insistent on moving on from that clash, but the second big one seems to have sealed the rivalry. That their team bosses, Toto Wolff and Christian Horner, seem to often be digging at one another in the media does not help.


“I do not think Lewis and Max will ever be friends,” Marko said. “They are two completely different characters.

“Behind them are two teams with different philosophies and approaches.

“It’s all a bit tense now, but they don’t have to be enemies. There must be mutual respect and this will be enough.

“Hamilton is the most successful driver and has great experience, Max has more than 100 grands prix behind him. I think common sense will prevail for both of us.”