Sergio Perez may have harboured hopes of challenging for the world championship based on his form in the early part of the season, but Max Verstappen’s superiority has been blatant for a while now.
The Dutch driver wrapped up his second successive title with five races to spare and has already tied the record of most race wins in a season with 14, potentially stretching to 16 if he comes up on top in the last two racing weekends as well.
Perez is fighting for second position as of now and leads Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc by five points at this stage.
Red Bull team advisor Helmut Marko has spoken about how this is now the team’s main focus heading into the final two races.
“If you have already achieved everything else possible, then you go the extra mile, because you also need some kind of incentive to keep people motivated,” said Marko.
Verstappen and Perez have had an average gap of nearly half a second throughout the season, which is the biggest in terms of the top three teams.
This is a poor statistic for Perez and one that has made critics question his position in the team.
Marko believes Verstappen has had to adjust driving style
There have been some suggestions that the car is made in a way that suits Verstappen’s driving style more, but Marko has dismissed this entirely.
“That is of course nonsense,” he said.
“The biggest problem was that the car was overweight, at the moment we are still above the minimum weight.
“There wasn’t much wrong with the aerodynamics from day one. However, I never believed it would go so well this year.
“What was Max saying in Australia again? ‘I need 36 races to overtake Leclerc?’ That would have been a bit difficult in one season.
“After that, we accelerated our [development] program. The errors were analysed: the first two outages were on the side of Red Bull. The third problem was on the side of Honda. Then we improved the quality control.”
Red Bull undoubtedly got its design right at the start of the season, but Marko has also credited the skill of his drivers for establishing such dominance on the circuit.
“It is both. At the start of the season you saw that Max is just as fast as Checo with a car that did not suit his driving style.
“If the car does suit Verstappen, then he is half a second faster.”