Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko believes Max Verstappen’s ability to manage his tyres has come on considerably this season, to the extent that only Lewis Hamilton can match him in that area.
Hamilton has always been praised for being unbelievably good at looking after his tyres, something which was seen as recently as the Singapore Grand Prix just over a week ago, where he was the quickest driver on the circuit.
Marko thinks Verstappen is now as good as the seven-time World Champion when it comes to managing tyre wear, an area where Ferrari in particular struggle.
Ferrari have endured huge tyre preservation woes this season, which has lost them several points throughout the campaign.
Verstappen hasn’t had the same issues, allowing him to benefit on the woes of others.
His tyre managing skills were exceptional again last weekend at the Japanese Grand Prix, where he claimed his 13th win of the season.
The reigning World Champion bounced back from his Singapore woes with a dominant display, putting him within touching distance of a third consecutive Drivers’ Championship, which he can claim in the upcoming sprint race in Qatar.
Marko discussed after the race where the 25-year-old has made progress in 2023, with his tyre preservation having massively impressed the Austrian.
“He has improved in terms of pure speed and apparently he rolls up his performance with the greatest of ease. That is really incredible,” Marko told Sky Germany.
“Moreover, I think he has gradually become the best at managing his tyres. He drives sharply and quickly but maintains full control. I think that perhaps only Lewis Hamilton succeeded in that to the same extent.”
Verstappen’s win on Sunday was his second consecutive victory at Suzuka, something which secured Red Bull the Constructors’ Championship.
He hailed his weekend as “unbelievable”, whilst he noted how “very proud” he is of the entire team and their immense efforts.
“Unbelievable weekend. To win here was great. The car worked really well on every compound,” said Verstappen.
“The most important thing was to win the constructors. Very proud for everyone working at the track and at the factory. We are having an incredible year.”