Helmut Marko believes Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes engine failure at the Malaysian Grand Prix came as a result of the Briton having to push to hold off the charging Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.
Hamilton was some 20 seconds ahead of the two team-mates when his power unit went up in flames. But with Verstappen on a different strategy, the Dutchman did not have to pit again when the lead Mercedes had to make a second stop.
“We clearly had the upper hand [in the race]!” long-time Red Bull motorsport advisor Marko told the official Formula 1 website. “My guess is that we very likely forced [Hamilton] into that engine failure!”
“We permanently put pressure on him, challenging his lead, as he knew he had to create a gap – and to go permanently full throttle was probably not the best thing for his engine.
“But even without him retiring we had some things up our sleeves – I will not say what – just that with both cars on different strategies we would have challenged him anyway towards the end of the race.”
Asked what Red Bull’s first 1-2 finish in nearly three years meant for the team in terms of development for the remaining races as well as next year, Marko added:
“It means nothing more and nothing less than that we did the best job. And that we will go our way! Yes it is a strong motivation boost – but that’s it. We have to continue to work hard – because that is the only way to win.
“A win is always contagious, so we will come back for more this season.”
2016 Malaysian Grand Prix – Quotes of the week
F1i’s driver ratings for the 2016 Malaysian Grand Prix
FULL REPORT: Ricciardo wins in Malaysia as Hamilton retires from lead
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