Only two drivers on the current Formula 1 grid have the potential to match Max Verstappen, according to Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko.
Verstappen had yet another dominant weekend at the Belgian Grand Prix, topping Friday’s qualifying session by a whopping eight tenths before taking a five-place gearbox penalty for Sunday’s race, then taking both pole position and the victory during Saturday’s Sprint sessions.
He eventually turned his sixth place on the grid into a victory by over 20 seconds ahead of team-mate Sergio Perez.
Perez meanwhile, failed to make it to Q3 for five races in a row from Monaco to Silverstone, but found himself back on the front row in Belgium following his teammate’s penalty, but was unable to
Within nine laps, Verstappen was behind Perez and eight laps later, the Dutchman flew past, disappearing 22 seconds up the road.
As Verstappen is well on his way to his third World Championship title, questions have been asked about teammate Perez’ current form and inability to provide a challenge to the 25-year old.
Helmut Marko, however, isn’t too worried, as he thinks only two drivers on the current grid could beat Verstappen right now.
“I would perhaps say [Fernando] Alonso or [Lewis] Hamilton, but in the same car it would be very difficult,” Marko told DAZN.
Perez, who is in the same car as Verstappen, took two victories early in the season and is, in theory, still in championship contention, but for Marko, it seems to be a mere formality.
“Second place, behind Max is like a victory. He had a good quali, a good Sprint race, and had a controlled race with good speed.
“Second place, behind Max is like a victory.”
The Austrian also lauds both his driver and the team, as they remain unbeaten this season: “Max Verstappen wins easily no matter what. The whole team, every stop works, no mistakes are made, the whole team is fast and they are doing an incredible job.”
With 12 wins out of 12 races this season, there seems no stopping Red Bull, with some even suggesting that the team could win every race this season.
When asked about this prospect, Marko said: “Realistically I have to say no, but we already have 12 victories and at the beginning we said we could win 12 so, who knows?”
Perez has won two races so far, while Verstappen has already graced the top step of the podium ten times. The Dutchman could equal Sebastian Vettel’s record of nine consecutive race wins at his home race in Zandvoort later this month.