Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has hit back at critics who “ridiculed” him a few years ago, when he compared reigning World Champion Max Verstappen to the legendary Ayrton Senna.
Marko responded to the critics after Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix, where Verstappen claimed his 41st career victory at the pinnacle of motorsport.
His win at the Circuit de Gilles-Villeneuve saw him draw level with Senna’s 41 wins in F1, prior to his tragic death at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix.
Verstappen could move ahead of Senna on the all-time winners list as soon as next weekend, if he wins the Austrian Grand Prix.
Given that next weekend is Red Bull’s home race, it’d mark an appropriate venue to eclipse the brilliant Brazilian.
It’s remarkable to think that Verstappen has matched Senna’s number of wins at just 25 years old, with him looking set to match his number of titles at the end of the season.
Verstappen’s sixth win of 2023 saw him extend his lead in the Drivers’ Championship to a comfortable 69 points, meaning he needs a disastrous second half of the year to be beaten to a third consecutive title.
He’s simply in a league of his own currently, with Verstappen and the RB19 being an unbeatable combination.
His win in Canada also marked Red Bull’s 100th since joining the paddock in 2005, whilst it also marked the 200th win by a car designed by chief technical officer Adrian Newey.
With Verstappen looking unstoppable in the current era of the sport, there is a growing sense of belief that he might even eclipse Lewis Hamilton’s 103 victories, something he needs to do to have won more races than any driver in the history of F1.
Marko has always known that Verstappen would cement himself amongst the greatest of all-time, something the Austrian is making very well-known.
“A few years ago, I compared Max to Senna and was ridiculed,” Marko told Austrian publication OE24.
“Slowly, the know-it-alls from back then are running out of arguments.
“Max has not only developed tremendously as a driver but also as a personality. The incredible qualifying lap he delivered in Monaco comes close to Senna. Max is the best under all conditions.”