Marko praises Verstappen for putting ‘stupid critics’ in their place

Heading into the Canadian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen found himself in the spotlight like never before.

Criticised for rash behaviour and a number of costly accidents in the opening races of 2018, his bosses at Red Bull were looking to see some growth and maturity from the 20-year-old in Montreal.

Light-hearted comments about wanting to ‘head butt’ journalists aside, Verstappen duly delivered.

“For Max, all these stupid critics are stopping,” said Red Bull motor sports consultant Dr Helmut Marko.

“He did the best time in practice three times, he qualified third, and he didn’t do anything wrong,” Marko told “Not one little bit of damage, not even a rim.

“That’s what we expect from him.

“I’m sure there will come more races like that. He delivered, so I think he gave the right answer.”

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While Verstappen qualified, started and finished in third place, Marko was also happy by Daniel Ricciardo managing to leapfrog Lewis Hamilton to finish in fourth.

“Generally for the whole team it’s a real relief to have both cars in the finish,” Marko admitted. “One podium, one fourth.

“You saw the speed, Ricciardo did fastest lap on the last lap,” he added. “And Max was catching dramatically on Bottas.”

Ricciardo lost his fastest lap honours when the race was rolled back two laps as a result of the chequered flag being shown to cars prematurely. Instead, it went to Verstappen.

The speed of the pair at the end of the race suggested that they could have pushed even earlier in the race than they did. Both cars started the race on ultrasofts before switching to supersofts 16 lap in.

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“Maybe we should have attacked a little bit earlier,” Marko conceded. “The tyres were the best choice we had to gain places.

The gambit enabled Ricciardo to get the jump on Hamilton, but didn’t work out for Verstappen when it came to passing Bottas.

“It worked with Ricciardo, it nearly worked with Max,” he said. “It looks like overtaking is forbidden [in Montreal] – I think it was the maximum.”

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