Marko fires warning at Verstappen as he believes Russell could win 2022 championship

Mercedes have been slowly closing the gap to Red Bull and Ferrari, with Helmut Marko believing they are still in contention for both championships.

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has become well-known for speaking negatively about Sir Lewis Hamilton to the media, with the recent Emilia Romagna Grand Prix being no exception.

The race in Imola saw Max Verstappen cruise to victory, whilst lapping his 2021 rival in the process.

It led to comments from Marko after the race, suggesting that Hamilton should’ve “stopped last year”.

“I mean he was lapped by us so maybe he should have stopped last year, he’s thinking, maybe,” questioned the Austrian.

At the time, Hamilton fired back at the Austrian, insisting that he takes onboard the negative energy as “fuel”.

 “I take that as fuel,” Hamilton insisted.

“I’m putting that into the pot and I’m going to turn that into a positive and I’m going to come back stronger, We are going to come back stronger as a team.”

READ: Ocon reveals how close he came to partnering Hamilton at Mercedes

Mercedes have in fact began to grow stronger this season, with the gap between themselves and those ahead beginning to close.

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The Silver Arrows were considerably closer at the recent Spanish GP, a weekend which filled the seven-time World Champion with confidence, with the Brit insisting it’s not in his “DNA to back out”.

“I’ve been with Mercedes since I was 13,” he said.

“We’ve had amazing times together. We’ve ridden the highs and lows together. I am 100 percent committed to this team. There’s nowhere else that I want to be. Just because we’ve hit a rough patch, it’s just not in my DNA to back out.”

Interestingly, Marko’s attitude towards both Hamilton and Mercedes dramatically changed in a recent interview.

It was perhaps the most honest and accurate interview the Austrian has ever done, with him even warning his own drivers of what could possibly occur.

Marko is aware that the Silver Arrows are getting closer to them, and are in fact “already at our level”.

“Their car is getting faster every day, from the top times they are already at our level or even better,” Marko said.

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“So you really shouldn’t write them off. If Mercedes suddenly dominates everything again, then Hamilton will be back too,” warned the Red Bull advisor.

Marko has been involved in the sport long enough to realise that anything is possible, and with the calendar becoming larger every year, it further increases the chances of unpredictability.

It isn’t just Hamilton that Marko is concerned about, with George Russell also appearing to be a title threat according to the 79-year-old.

Russell has started the season in fine fashion, the former Williams driver is fourth in the championship and has already proven impeccable consistent.

“I just did the maths: we still have 15 races ahead of us,” Marko added.

“Even Russell is just 41 points behind Verstappen. Everything is still possible there.”