Verstappen could have been Hamilton’s main rival

Max Verstappen: Missed opportunities

Max Verstappen: Missed opportunities

Dr Helmut Marko has calculated that Max Verstappen could have finished second in the Drivers’ Championship and helped Red Bull to second in the Constructors’.

Marko, who has recently taken another dig at Renault, discussed Verstappen’s topsy-turvy 2018 season, which began with six incidents in his first six race weekends.

But Verstappen soon put all that behind him with a marvellous second half of the season, which saw him racked up 249 points in total, just two points behind Kimi Raikkonen in third place.

Yet Marko firmly believes that it could have been Verstappen, and not Sebastian Vettel, who could have emerged as Lewis Hamilton’s biggest title rival in 2018.

“We had an intense conversation,” Marko told when asked about how the team and Verstappen analysed the season.

“The problem was that he was putting too much pressure on himself.

“He is still a very ambitious Max Verstappen. But he realises that he does not have to be up front in every session.

“He sees a race as a whole, and he must also have the championship in mind next year. You do not always have to be in front.

“We made a kind of ‘what if’ calculation internally – if neither Verstappen, nor the team – because we have made some mistakes – would have made mistakes.

“Max would be second in the drivers’ standings and we would be second in the constructors’ championship.”

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