Marko details ‘very critical’ concern that almost cost Verstappen Imola win

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut has spoken out about the “very critical” issue that came close to denying Max Verstappen a win at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

Verstappen appeared on his way to achieving an undisputed start to the checkered flag in Imola last weekend, after starting the race from pole position.

However, in the final stages, McLaren's Lando Norris picked up the pace and put pressure on the three-time world champion.

Verstappen crossed the finish line just seven-tenths of a second ahead of his rival to take his fifth win of the season.

The Dutchman also had to ensure he did not exceed the track limits throughout the final laps, as any further violation could have resulted in a five-second penalty, leaving him behind Norris in the final classification.

“Max violated track limits several times at the Imola race, there was a final caution and then a five-second penalty was due,” Marko wrote in his column for Speedwick.

“It was very important. Because the last 10 or 15 laps were the hardest for him in the Grand Prix, and he could not afford to make any more mistakes.”

Polar position was 'absolutely necessary'

Verstappen struggled with his RB20 throughout practice, resulting in a close battle for qualifying.

The 26-year-old narrowly edged out the McLaren duo to take pole position, with less than a tenth between the top three cars.

Marco stressed that reaching the top of the standings and not running into difficulties such as high temperature was crucial to ensuring victory in the race on Sunday.

He said: “On the positive side, the technicians were able to prepare the car for qualifying in such a way that Max could take first place.”

“Maybe they worked too much on qualifying speed in that regard and less on race speed.

He continued: “But it was absolutely necessary, because if Verstappen cannot start from pole at Imola, this race will never be won.”


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