Helmut Marko believes race director Michael Masi had every right to remove the lapped cars between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton before the restart in Abu Dhabi. After the five cars between the two title competitors were cleared, the safety car went in and there was one lap left to race. Verstappen was able to place a successful attack on fresh red tires to grab the world title. Mercedes disagreed with Masi’s decision and decided to protest.
Marko thinks it was right that the race director decided to race one more lap. “Masi also deserves credit as he wanted the race to end under the green flag,” the Austrian is quoted by RaceFans. Marko points to other branches of motorsport. “In IndyCar and NASCAR, a race is extended by one lap in order not to end up behind the safety car. Masi was like a referee. He has the right to make such decisions and if he does then that decision is valid.’
The safety car was sent out after a crash by Williams driver Nicholas Latifi. It was made clear to Hamilton over the on-board radio that they would not bring him in. Red Bull Racing did respond. “Our team has acted sensationally. They immediately made the decision to put the softs under Max’s car. Hamilton didn’t stand a chance. Max was unsure about the decision at first, but I knew from that point on he would win.’
Good collaboration between Marko and Verstappen
The Red Bull advisor welcomed Verstappen to the junior team of the Austrian racing stable in 2014. Since then, the admiration for his driver has only grown. “Seeing him drive the car to the limit like that really warms my heart.” In addition, the two men from Red Bull have an incredibly good collaboration. ‘We don’t need criticism to keep each other on our toes, because we always seem to agree. We always find improvement. I’m looking forward to the future,” said Marko.