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F1 | Helmut Marko: Verstappen "without a doubt" the best driver I've worked with

The Red Bull advisor believes the 2021 champion’s adaptability and newly founded maturity are what makes him stand out among the other drivers formerly employed by the team.

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F1 | Helmut Marko: Verstappen "without a doubt" the best driver I've worked with
Fuente imagen: Hasan Bratic Motorlat

Max Verstappen secured his first F1 title in the last lap of the final race of the year, after a dramatic and controversial championship fight against Mercedes's seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton, during his sixth season with Red Bull.

Verstappen is the second driver in the history of the Austrian team to win a championship, as Sebastian Vettel, now at Aston Martin, got the Bulls four titles in consecutive years, from 2010 to 2013, before leaving for Ferrari.

Red Bull F1 advisor Helmut Marko stated that he believes Verstappen, who broke Vettel's record of youngest GP winner at 18, to be the best driver in the history of Red Bull, in spite of having only one title to his name.

The former Austrian driver, when asked in an interview to Servus TV whether the Dutchman was the best driver he has ever worked with, answered positively: "Yes, without a doubt he is," he said.

In Marko's opinion, Verstappen's biggest talent and useful asset in winning is his flexibility, as he can adapt to different driving conditions and new track layout in a shorter period of time than everyone else:

"What makes him stand out the most? He doesn’t need a warm-up [lap]. If it rains somewhere, the others do five or eight laps. Then Max goes out and sets the fastest time on the first lap," he said.

“Or Jeddah – nobody knew the track. The others were driving again, Max goes out…bang! Three times [fastest sector]. That is one of his fascinating qualities.”

Another important ability acquired by Verstappen over his years in F1 is maturity, as the 24 years old's racing is more controlled than in previous outings:

"He’s a little less aggressive, yes, but can look at the bigger picture better now. That’s an important difference. In the early years, Max wanted to be the fastest at all times and under all circumstances. He has now learned to dose it and deliver it if it is really necessary."

"The discrepancy is he already showed that maturity during his very first race for Red Bull," added Marko, bringing up his 2016 win at Montmeló.

He also highlighted the all-around personality change Verstappen went thorough, as he is now more calm off track too, while dealing with different kinds of issues:

"Another important difference is that if we had a problem during free practice a few years ago, Max would explode and yell through the pit box. He sometimes took that impatience with him on the track, for example, if a backmarker did not move quickly enough."

“Now Max is much calmer. He performs consistently and at an exceptionally high level. He is truly an extraordinary driver," he concluded.

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