With Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc seen at the front of the grid twice this F1 season, Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has been quite frustrated with Max Verstappen. Teammate Sergio Perez too achieved pole position for the first time in his career, leading Marko to comment on Verstappen’s performance.
Marko admits that probably another Formula One title would calm Verstappen’s nerves after witnessing the 24-year old’s aggression during qualifying at Melbourne.
“He goes over the limit, he wants too much,” he told formula1news.co.uk.
“That didn’t work out here (in Melbourne) in the last sector.”
“We thought that with the World Championship title there would be some calmness from him, but he probably needs another title so that he doesn’t go into qualifying with so much pressure.”
Verstappen joined Red Bull in 2016 but it took him three years to win his first pole position in 2019. There remains no doubt that his race performance in previous seasons has been excellent. Perhaps the only aspect that has tremendous scope for improvement is his qualifying speed.
While he did win in Saudi Arabia, the other two races saw him retire. As of now, he stands at sixth place in the driver’s standings. However, Verstappen has blamed the car for the results in Melbourne.
He revealed that things were all over the place for him:
“I didn’t really feel good in the car the whole weekend so far. I think there’s not been one lap when I actually felt confident, so a bit of a struggle.
“Of course, second is still a good result, but just not feeling that great to go to the limit. We’ll try to analyse it. For me this weekend so far it’s been all over the place. I think also as a team we want more.”
Verstappen might have to improve in terms of consistency in performance. He must rediscover the balance between an all-out track attack and extracting the full potential of the car, as suggested by Marko.
It isn’t too late either as around 500 points are still up for grabs this season. Despite Leclerc leading the board with 71 points followed by George Russell, Verstappen has enough time and plenty of chances to turn the tables. Will he?