Helmut Marko claims Max Verstappen wasn’t himself at 2023 Italian GP

Max Verstappen took his tenth consecutive victory this season, crossing the finish line at the Italian Grand Prix in P1.

Max Verstappen made Formula 1 history on Sunday by securing his tenth consecutive race victory, an achievement that stirred a whirlwind of emotions.. 

Dr Helmut Marko, Red Bull Racing’s key advisor, revealed that Verstappen was “quite nervous” before the race, which marked a significant departure from his usual demeanour. 

However, the Dutch driver quickly dismissed the notion, responding with a confident smile, stating, “I wasn’t nervous.”

As the checkered flag waved, Dr Marko reflected on Verstappen’s pre-race apprehension, saying, “Max was relatively nervous before this tenth win, where normally he isn’t. 

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The record means a lot to Max, so I hope that has now been resolved because I don’t think ten wins is the end either.”

In contrast to the jubilant celebrations, Mercedes’ Toto Wolff downplayed the achievement, suggesting that Verstappen might not attach much significance to such records. 

“I don’t know if Max cares about these records because it wouldn’t be important to me. 

“It’s something for Wikipedia, and no one reads that,” Wolff remarked.

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Wolff’s comments drew attention to Lewis Hamilton’s previous remarks, where the seven-time world champion hinted that Verstappen’s dominance might be due to a lack of competition within the Red Bull team. 

Wolff explained, “Our situation was slightly different because we had two drivers within the team who competed against each other.”

Verstappen, however, brushed off such claims as jealousy. Meanwhile, Marko remained optimistic about the remainder of the season, suggesting that only technical issues or unforeseen accidents could disrupt Verstappen’s path to further victories. 

“Max has never won in Singapore so he will want to do that, and if he can win there too, I am optimistic that we can win the rest of the races as well,” Marko confidently stated.

During the Monza race, Verstappen faced a minor scare as his engine started to overheat. 

Marko admitted that they had to pay close attention to this issue, particularly as Carlos Sainz of Ferrari put up a strong fight. 

Sainz’s performance marked a notable improvement for Ferrari, as just a week ago at Zandvoort, they had struggled with dire pace. 

Team principal Frederic Vasseur acknowledged, “At least we could fight with them. 

“They were a bit faster, but we kept up well – it was maybe a tenth or two off.”

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Ferrari’s top engineer, Jock Clear, praised the successful development of parts for the Monza race, highlighting their deep understanding of the car’s performance. 

Vasseur also commended Verstappen’s record-breaking achievement, acknowledging that it wasn’t just about the last ten races but also the remarkable consistency Verstappen had displayed over the past two years.

With his growing lead in the Drivers’ Standings, Verstappen has the opportunity to claim his third consecutive world championship at Japanese Grand Prix.