Red Bull chief fears for Verstappen with Hamilton's 'rocket' engine

Will Max Verstappen engine fears hand Lewis Hamilton an F1 title comeback? Red Bull admit the world champion has an ‘engine advantage – and an unbelievable surplus’, which risks cutting the 14-point gap at the top with three races to go

  • Lewis Hamilton soared through the field to beat Max Verstappen in Brazil 
  • The Mercedes driver showed stunning pace and overcame grid penalties to win 
  • Verstappen has a 14-point advantage over Hamilton with three races remaining
  • Red Bull technical advisor Helmut Marko has fears over Verstappen’s chances 

Red Bull technical advisor Helmut Marko fears the engine in Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes car might prove to be the deciding factor in his title fight with Max Verstappen.

The seven-time world champion put in one of the best performances of his career to overcome a 25-place grid penalty across the weekend and win the Sao Paolo Grand Prix.

Verstappen has a 14-point advantage over Hamilton with three races remaining, but Marko has claimed Red Bull could be at a disadvantage if Mercedes ‘maintains their engine advantage’.

Lewis Hamilton produced one of the best displays of his career to win the Sao Paulo GP

The Mercedes driver showed electric pace to overtake Max Verstappen and close the gap at the top to 14 points

As reported by Auto Motor und Sport, Marko said: ‘There were not two rockets, but one. Only the Hamilton (car) has such an unbelievable surplus on the straights.

‘Despite the lead, I see us at a disadvantage if Hamilton maintains this engine advantage.’

Such was Hamilton’s pace on the day it was reported that the difference in speed between him and Verstappen was 15.2 km/h at the end of the start/finish straight.

Verstappen showed exceptional pace in the tight and tricky middle sector to keep Hamilton at bay for a good portion of the race.

Though on Lap 48, Hamilton made his first serious move for the lead, which led to Verstappen getting his elbows out and both drivers running off the road.

Red Bull technical advisor Helmut Marko (right) fears for Verstappen’s title chances

Marko said that Hamilton’s ‘rocket’ Mercedes engine could put Red Bull at a disadvantage

Mercedes felt Verstappen should have got a five-second time penalty for forcing Hamilton off the track, but the British driver eventually took the lead in a clean move on Lap 59. 

In a separate interview with Austrian television station ORF, Marko spoke about the Mercedes power unit with Hamilton taking a brand new Internal Combustion Engine in Brazil.

‘We haven’t seen an engine like that from Mercedes in recent years, as far as I can remember,’ Marko said. ‘Unbelievable.

Verstappen, searching for his first title, has a 14-point gap over seven-time champion Hamilton

‘And it’s only Hamilton’s power unit. All the others (Mercedes powered cars) are within the normal range.

‘Mercedes have done a masterpiece to conjure up such a rocket at this crucial stage. Hamilton won it on the straights.

‘Max was on average two to three tenths faster in the middle sector, risked everything, had to drive on the limit.

‘Of course, that also had an influence on the tyres. But it was the only way to not get caught on the straights.’

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