After winning the US Grand Prix, Helmut Marko told Max Verstappen, “we need two more.” Marko believes it will take ten race wins to win the World Championship.
In an exciting United States Grand Prix, Verstappen beat Lewis Hamilton to the checkered flag, crossing the line 1.333s ahead of his title challenger.
Verstappen, on tyres eight laps older than Hamilton’s, hung on for his eighth win of the season in a dramatic final stint.
That, according to Marko, is two shy of the magic ten points that would secure Verstappen the Drivers’ Championship.
“As I’ve said before, we need to win ten races if we want to win the championship, so we need two more,” the Red Bull advisor said.
“Then maybe we can sit back a little bit on the Middle East circuits because those circuits have insane straights and Mercedes will definitely have an advantage there.”
With five races remaining, Verstappen has outperformed Hamilton in four of the previous six races to grab a 12-point lead.
Marko says he’ll take it because Russia, Turkey, and the United States were all supposed to support Hamilton.
“The last three races were actually all Mercedes circuits and instead of coming to Mexico with a deficit, we are coming to Mexico with a 12-point lead,” he said.
“Mexico and Brazil should actually suit us even better because of the altitude.”
Verstappen started the race from pole position at the Circuit of The Americas, but Hamilton took the lead after Turn 1.
Red Bull chose an aggressive strategy in pursuit of the Mercedes driver, pulling the undercut not once, but twice.
“We shook the whole race,” said Marko. “Unfortunately, the start was not successful, but Max couldn’t help it.
“It’s unbelievable how Max preserved these tyres.”
While it was thought that his tyres wouldn’t go the distance, the 24-year-old managed to save enough life in his tyres to set a few personal best sectors in the final three laps, allowing him to win ahead of Hamilton.
As for Sergio Perez, he made it a podium double for Red Bull as, despite being ill on the day, he raced his way to third.
Marko was pleased since having the Mexican driver in the front forced Hamilton to pit earlier than he wanted the first time.
“He was far enough upfront that we forced Hamilton with his pit stop to actually go in the direction that was best for us,” said the Austrian. “So from that point of view, it fits.
“He’s getting better and better.”
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