Helmut Marko reveals reason for Sergio Perez blocking Max Verstappen

Red Bull failed to qualify in the top-five at the 2023 United States Grand Prix.

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has admitted that Sergio Perez getting in Max Verstappen’s way in Q3 at the United States Grand Prix was the team’s fault, following a “communication error”.

It was a challenging qualifying at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) for Red Bull, who found themselves in an unfamiliar position of being surrounded by Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren.

No team was clearly dominant on Friday in qualifying, with the top-seven consisting of five different teams.

Remarkably, Red Bull had just one car amongst that top-seven, although they didn’t feature amongst the top-five.

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Verstappen’s first lap in Q3 was only good enough for sixth on the grid; however, his final hot lap would’ve secured him pole position had he not exceeded track limits on the exit of the penultimate corner.

Perez, on the other hand, could on salvage P9, behind both Alpines.

The three-time World Champion was actually annoyed with Perez as he concluded his first push lap in Q3, after he caught the Mexican in the final corner.

As Verstappen was coming to the end of his lap, Perez was only just preparing to start his, causing the Dutchman’s car to snap in the final turn due to the turbulent air from his team-mate.

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He shared his anger over the radio, although Marko has since admitted that it was an error on the team’s behalf.

“We knew it was going to be tight [in qualifying but on Max’s] first lap in Q3, Checo got in the way,” Marko told ServusTV.

“It was a communication error, and on the second run at Turn 1, there was a lock-up and it’s tragic when you drop from first to sixth place.

“The cars in front of [Max] are all strong opponents and it will be a tough race.”

Similarly, to the Singapore Grand Prix, Red Bull haven’t been dominant at all, something Marko has put down to how bumpy the track surface is at COTA.

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Marko believes the bumps are impacting the Austrians more than any other outfit, although he’s confident that the side will be strong in the race.

“The bumps hurt us more than others, we couldn’t drive with the rideheight we planned,” Marko said.

“But in the long run, we can make up some ground. On Sunday, the temperature should be very high, and tyre wear should come into play, which is a strength of ours.”