Lewis Hamilton v Max Verstappen: Helmut Marko can't hide concern for Dutchman's title chances

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Helmut Marko has admitted that Max Verstappen faces an uphill task to win this year's Formula 1 Drivers' championship if Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes can maintain the pace shown at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

The Dutchman leads the standings by 14 points after seeing Hamilton take victory in Brazil on Sunday and it was clear that he was a little bit of a sitting duck when in front with the Mercedes possessing unparalleled speed in a straight line after a new internal combustion engine had been fitted.

Indeed, ahead of the final three races in the Middle East, Red Bull will be concerned now that Hamilton has the edge needed to overhaul the deficit in the standings and win the championship, as well as potentially help Mercedes secure the Constructors' title along the way.

Certainly, it's something that is on Marko's mind following the chequered flag in Brazil, with him opening up to two different outlets on his concerns for the final races of the year.

“There were not two rockets, but one,” he said to AMuS. “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.”

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“We haven’t seen an engine like that from Mercedes in recent years, as far as I can remember,” Marko then said to ORF.

“Unbelievable.

“And it’s only Hamilton’s power unit. All the others are within the normal range.

“Mercedes have done a masterpiece to conjure up such a rocket at this crucial stage.”

He added: “Hamilton won it on the straights.

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“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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