Red Bull Racing consultant Helmut Marko is telling Lewis Hamilton to keep his nose out of other teams’ business.
After suggesting that Alex Albon is not good enough to be Max Verstappen’s teammate at Red Bull, Hamilton accused Red Bull of not treating Monza winner Pierre Gasly fairly when he was demoted to Alpha Tauri last year.
Marko, the architect of Red Bull’s driver program, immediately hit back by claiming that Hamilton had actually advocated for Gasly’s mid-2019 demotion.
“The truth is that Lewis didn’t call us in 2019, but he spoke to our team boss Christian Horner on a plane and recommended that Albon be put in the car instead of Gasly,” he now tells German media outlet Sport1. “That was before the swap that we did after the summer break.”
Hamilton is now saying that Gasly has impressed him in the way Gasly handled the demotion from Red Bull to AlphaTauri midway through the 2019 season.
“I’m not sure he was treated fairly by Red Bull,” six-time F1 champion Hamilton said. “I don’t think it was easy for him as a driver. “It’s not easy to regain confidence in another team, so I’m really impressed. He deserves this success and that should take him further.
“I think beating the team that demoted him must hurt them.”
Hamilton even suggested before the F1 Italian GP that Albon might not be good enough to be Max Verstappen’s teammate.
“People downplay it but they have got a very strong car and Max is doing a great job with it,” the six-time world champion said. “Unfortunately both drivers aren’t there like me and Valtteri (Bottas) are there.
“That makes it harder for them. I’ve experienced that myself many years ago when I was at McLaren and I was the driver always at the front.
Marko lashed out at six-time world champion Hamilton’s criticism of Albon.
“We don’t care,” Marko said. “The driver he wanted to get rid of last summer has now won the Italian GP with our AlphaTauri team. So much for his expertise. I have no idea why Hamilton keeps finding the need to advise us, but it doesn’t matter to us what opinion people from the outside world have.”
Marko added that Gasly is staying at Alpha Tauri for now.
“We want to make Alpha Tauri even stronger in the future and that means we need a team leader,” he said.
Marko said it is simply tough for any driver, including Gasly and Albon, to be Verstappen’s teammate.
“Everyone falls away against Max,” he said. “But the criticism of Albon is not entirely fair. He was unlucky this year and we made strategic mistakes that affected his performance. But we still believe that he can deliver the performance we ask of him if things go optimally. And that has not been the case very often this season.”
Albon enters this week’s F1 Tuscan Grand Prix in sixth place with 48 points in the F1 drivers’ standings, while Gasly is in eighth place with 43 point for Red Bull’s junior team.
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