Helmut Marko has revealed the area of Max Verstappen’s performance that only the legendary Lewis Hamilton can challenge.
Helmut Marko has claimed that only Lewis Hamilton can match Max Verstappen when it comes to managing their Formula One car’s tyres.
Verstappen claimed his 13th win of the season at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, seeing off the threat of McLaren duo Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris before cruising off into the distance after the early safety car.
The Dutchman is now a mammoth 177 points clear of Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez in the World Championship and will clinch his third title in Qatar, providing that he finishes sixth or higher in the sprint race or scores at least three points across the weekend.
Despite having 13 wins to his name this year, since the fifth round of the season, the Dutchman has hardly been challenged, allowing him to develop his skills in tyre and race management, adding to his already immense talent.
After dominating the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, Marko told Sky Germany: “He has improved in terms of pure speed and apparently he rolls up his performance with the greatest of ease. That is really incredible.
“Moreover, I think he has gradually become the best at managing his tyres. He drives sharply and quickly but maintains full control. I think that perhaps only Lewis Hamilton succeeded in that to the same extent.”
Hamilton is renowned for being one of the strongest tyre managers in the history of F1,
honing his skills during his years dominating the field during Mercedes’ time on top of the Constructors’ Championship.
The 2020 Turkish Grand Prix was a prime example of the 38-year-old’s ability to nurse old tyres on long stints, while still extracting pace from the car relative to his rivals, and now Verstappen is also picking up those skills.
Speaking after moving one step closer to his third World Championship, Verstappen said: “Unbelievable weekend. To win here was great. The car worked really well on every compound.
“The most important thing was to win the constructors. Very proud for everyone working at the track and at the factory. We are having an incredible year.”