Helmut Marko says Sebastian Vettel isn’t on the same level as Max Verstappen

As Max Verstappen continues his successful career, Dr Helmut Marko has praised his unmatched talent and natural ability.

Dr Helmut Marko, senior advisor at Red Bull, believes that Max Verstappen is even better than Sebastian Vettel, the team’s former quadruple world champion. 

Despite Vettel’s dominant reign from 2010 to 2013, Marko claimed that Verstappen surpasses him in skill and performance.

“We thought that Sebastian was the best of the best, but then Max came along,” Marko told Sport1. 

“Vettel was an extremely meticulous worker with an enormous basic speed, but even in this respect, Max is just one step further ahead.”

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Marko highlighted Verstappen’s remarkable ability to quickly adapt to any situation without needing time to adjust. 

“He can go full throttle immediately,” Marko said. “That’s the unbelievable natural talent and the resulting incredible basic speed. He has fantastic vehicle control, especially at the limit.”

While Marko’s praise for Verstappen knows no bounds, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner took a more diplomatic approach when comparing Vettel and Verstappen. 

Horner acknowledged Vettel’s tremendous achievements throughout his career and his exceptional work ethic. 

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“Sebastian’s ability to deal with pressure was fantastic,” Horner said. “He has a lot of talent and understood that he has to work hard to be the best.”

“They are two very different, phenomenally successful drivers.

“I think Sebastian, with what he has achieved in his career, is one of the really great and most successful drivers in this sport.”

However, Horner also believes that Verstappen’s current accomplishments are sometimes underrated due to his ongoing career and his personality. 

He described Verstappen’s performance as “outstanding” and recognized his potential as a driver at the peak of his abilities.

“I think sometimes his achievements aren’t recognised in the way they should be,” Horner said. 

“It’s an absolutely outstanding performance by a driver who is at the peak of his ability.”

Guillaume Rocquelin, Vettel’s former race engineer at Red Bull and now head of Red Bull’s driver program, shared his perspective on the comparison between Vettel and Verstappen. 

Rocquelin acknowledged that Vettel was a more complete driver when he joined the team. However, he believes that Verstappen still has room for improvement and will only become stronger as he gains technical expertise.

Rocquelin noted a significant change in Verstappen’s approach between 2021 and 2022, with the Dutch driver maturing and consistently performing at the highest level. 

“I think he’ll only get stronger as he gains technical know-how,” Rocquelin added.

READ: Carlos Sainz gives Max Verstappen verdict

“That slightly desperate thirst for success has gone.

“Max has matured a lot and is now driving more consistently at the highest level.

“Winning the first title in 2021 gave him enormous additional confidence. He drives differently than a year ago, that’s clear.”