Former Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert has taken issue with Dr Helmut Marko’s comment on Sir Lewis Hamilton after the 2022 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Mercedes continued to struggle with “porpoising,” handling and tyre warmup issues that have conspired against them since the turn of the new technical regulations this year, and the issue bit Hamilton hard in Imola.
The Briton ended the race P13 having finished the sprint event the day before in the same position, while Max Verstappen led home Sergio Perez home for Red Bull’s first one-two since 2016, sending them above Mercedes in the Constructors’ Standings.
Asked what Hamilton would likely have been thinking after the race, Dr Marko said “maybe he should have stopped” after his championship defeat in 2021 to Verstappen.
The comment was made relatively tongue in cheek by the 79-year-old, but Herbert was not impressed with the nature of the remark.
“What a cheap shot – typical Helmut Marko and Red Bull, to be honest,” he said.
“After everything that happened last year – what a battle there was between Max and Lewis, and of course Red Bull and Mercedes.
“It went down to the wire, the race at the end of the year was completely and utterly wrong, but the man who dominated that last part of the year was Lewis Hamilton.
“So it just shows he was on fire at the end of last year. Would they (Red Bull) want him in their car? Yes, they would, but they know he’s a big threat to them once Mercedes get everything together and start battling for those race wins again.”
Mercedes are hoping to have an upgrade ready by the Miami Grand Prix next weekend that will help them understand and tackle the problems they have been facing this season and, while Herbert insinuates that the Silver Arrows, he reckons they can return to race-winning form towards the end of the season.
“I think there is a chance, but it will be in the latter part of the season if really that chance is going to be there for them,” he explained.
“I think they will work very hard, and Lewis especially, to keep that record going.”
Hamilton himself declared that he is “out of the championship for sure” after his result in Imola, but vowed to keep fighting to “somehow pull it back together.”