Max Verstappen asked Lewis Hamilton retirement question after Helmut Marko remarks
Max Verstappen makes subtle dig at Lewis Hamilton
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Max Verstappen reportedly looked uncomfortable earlier this week when he was asked about Helmut Marko’s comments on Lewis Hamilton retiring. The F1 season resumes this weekend at the inaugural Miami Grand Prix.
Hamilton was tipped to quit F1 at the end of last year after Verstappen won his first title following a controversial end to the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi. The Briton ultimately decided to carry on, however, as he goes in search of a record-breaking eighth championship.
But he has been well off the pace in the early stages of the new season, with his Mercedes car struggling to compete. The Silver Arrows car has experienced porpoising issues and Hamilton has found himself well behind his rivals.
At the Imola Grand Prix two weeks ago, Hamilton finished 13th as he was lapped by race winner Verstappen. “He was lapped by us so maybe he should have stopped last year, he is thinking maybe,” quipped Red Bull motorsport advisor Marko after the race.
But when those comments were put to Verstappen by The Telegraph, the Dutchman looked to be out of his comfort zone. “I’m not thinking about these things,” avowed Verstappen. “I’m just focused on my own performance – on what I can do to make the car faster.”
Verstappen enjoyed the perfect weekend in Imola last time out as he qualified on pole, won the Sprint event, tasted victory in the Grand Prix and recorded the fastest lap. And he reduced his deficit to Drivers’ Championship leader Charles Leclerc to 27 points.
Verstappen has experienced a mixed start to the season and was unable to finish the opening race in Bahrain after experiencing power failure in the closing stages. And he was then forced to retire from the Australian Grand Prix when a fuel issues caused a fire in his car. And Leclerc took full advantage as he won both races.
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But Verstappen has kept his title hopes alive by winning in Saudi Arabia and Imola. And it appears as though this season will be a two-way contest between the current top two. Hamilton, meanwhile, will be seriously wondering how Mercedes could have got it so wrong over the winter.
F1 teams were forced to redesign their cars during the off-season amid a whole host of regulation changes. But the Silver Arrows have not produced a car which can compete for honours and the team look set to relinquish the Constructors’ Championship they have won for the last eight years. And Marko might feel he has a point when he suggested Hamilton should have turned his back on the sport.
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