Helmut Marko admits Sergio Perez got lucky as he sends Max Verstappen warning

Just six points separate Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez ahead of this weekend's 2023 Miami Grand Prix.

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has interestingly fired a warning at reigning World Champion Max Verstappen following last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where the Dutchman was beaten by team-mate Sergio Perez.

Not for the first time in his Red Bull career, Perez was exceptional around the Baku City Circuit, with the Mexican having won the sprint race on Saturday and the main race on Sunday.

Perez just seems to become a completely different driver when competing at street circuits, one which Verstappen struggles to beat.

All of the 33-year-old’s wins for Red Bull have come at street tracks, with two of them having been in Azerbaijan.

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Perez’s first win for Red Bull came in Baku back in 2021, after Verstappen crashed heavily following a sudden tyre failure.

His win on Sunday was purely on merit, though, with his consistent pace having been too much for the double World Champion.

Whilst Checo was somewhat lucky to inherit the lead after pitting under a Safety Car, he ultimately had the pace to keep Verstappen at bay, making some believe that he would’ve overtaken the Dutchman for the win regardless.

Marko also recognises that Verstappen was “unlucky” to have pitted seconds before the Safety Car was called; however, he also noted that the 25-year-old can’t “underestimate” his team-mate when they are racing at a street track.

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“[Verstappen] was unlucky with the Safety Car, yes, but Sergio on a street circuit, he has the most podiums here,” Marko told the F1 Nation podcast.

“So don’t underestimate Sergio. He changed a lot since he came to us. He started working!”

Street tracks just seem to suit Perez better than anybody else, with the Mexican seemingly being able to push his car to the absolute limit, without going beyond it and into the wall.

READ: Ex-F1 champion says Max Verstappen’s Azerbaijan threats were ‘odd’

1996 F1 World Champion Damon Hill joked with Marko on the podcast that the Austrian was taking “credit” for Perez’s stunning street track performances since his move to Red Bull, something the 80-year-old jokingly denied.

“I’m not taking the credit!” Marko jokingly replied.

“But, before, he was a Mexican race driver who was enjoying life. He still does, but he does the necessary work.”