Red Bull team advisor Dr. Helmut Marko said Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are in a league of their own. Speaking to German publication Formel1, the Austrian commented on the Briton and Dutchman's exciting duel in Bahrain, saying:
“The race clearly showed that the two are in a class of their own.”
The thrilling duel lasted through the penultimate moments of the race, where Hamilton won by a narrow margin of 0.745 seconds. The nail-biting finish foreshadows more wheel-to-wheel action between the two drivers in the future. Commenting on Hamilton’s performance at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Marko said:
“The thing that Hamilton has over Max is incredible consistency.”
Speaking about Hamilton's vast experience in the sport, Marko added:
“I don't know how many races he has, how many wins. You could see how he did a great job tactically, how he made line changes and so on. It was a very difficult race for Max. But again, they are more or less on a par with each other. Max will also be able to draw on a wealth of experience like Hamilton's at some point.”
Verstappen, who had overtaken Hamilton in the last few laps of the race, had to return the position after the Race Director deemed the move to be completed outside track limits at Turn 4. Michael Masi prompted the team to order Max to swap back to his original pace, to which Verstappen preferred taking a penalty rather than letting Hamilton pass.
Penalty favored Hamilton: Helmut Marko
After crossing the finish line, the Dutchman radioed his pitwall saying:
“Why couldn’t you just let me go. I could’ve easily pulled the five seconds. I prefer we lose a win like that than be second like this.”
However, Dr. Marko disagreed with Verstappen's comments. According to the Austrian, the stewards would have slapped a penalty that favored Hamilton, had the position not been handed back.
Doubting the penalty, he explained:
“The only thing is that the five seconds wouldn't have guaranteed a win. We were convinced that the penalty would have been such that Hamilton would have won. If he was 5.8 seconds ahead, we would have got 10 seconds. From that point of view, staying ahead would not have helped.”