Sebastian Vettel snubbed as Red Bull chief labels Max Verstappen team’s best ever driver

Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing

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Red Bull have had some extremely talented drivers throughout the years, including the likes of David Coulthard, Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo. However, their chief advisor Helmut Marko has claimed that Dutch star Max Verstappen is the best they have ever had.

Verstappen won his first championship in his F1 career after a controversial victory over Lewis Hamilton in the final race of 2021 in Abu Dhabi.

It meant a first title for Red Bull in seven years, after Lewis Hamilton had won six with a Nico Rosberg title sandwiched in between.

The winner prior to that was Vettel, who won the 2013 Drivers’ Championship with ease.

Yet despite the German winning 10 of the last 13 races that year, Marko has claimed that Verstappen is, nevertheless, the greatest Red Bull have ever had.

“Yes, without a doubt he is,” Marko told Motorsport-total.com.

“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.

“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.”

His driving style was frowned upon as the title race with Hamilton became more intense towards the end of the season. But Marko didn’t berate him for his ‘aggressive’ manner.

“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.

“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.”

Verstappen will look to reclaim his title next season, which starts on March 20 in Bahrain.

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