Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko believes the team’s gains against Ferrari are down to the bravery it showed by upgrading its car at Imola.
Max Verstappen scored maximum points across the weekend by winning the Sprint and then completing the grand slam of win, fastest lap and leading every lap in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. With Sergio Perez finishing second to give Red Bull its first one-two since Malaysia in 2016, Marko (pictured at middle, above) says the fact that the team risked introducing an update on a weekend where there’s just one practice session was crucial.
“It was funny, I told Perez before the start ‘We have to have a one-two so we can catch up’ and afterwards he said, ‘You asked, so we did it!’” Marko told SpeedCity Broadcasting. “So if it is as easy as that we will tell them more often!
“It’s very satisfying, and after the problems we had in Melbourne and at the first race, we showed we have the potential and we have the speed to react. We were brave — we brought an update and with the sprint format you just have one session to adjust. That session was partly wet, so it was even more difficult but we believe and we trust in our aerodynamics — that’s why our chief of aerodynamics was on the podium — and it proved to be right.
“Max is a driver who attacks, and we are also — I wouldn’t say aggressive, but we are not sitting on the backside and waiting. If something is coming, we go for it and we work for it.”
Marko has also been impressed by Perez’s level of performance this season, regularly backing Verstappen up to ensure Red Bull is just 11 points behind Ferrari in the constructors’ championship.
“Checo was second already in Australia and he would have been second without the fuel problem in the first race. So he’s improving. He’s much closer to Max now, and he’s a very good team player. You saw they were like a couple on the podium — the whole atmosphere is really good and that makes the team so strong.”