After placing third in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, George Russell sarcastically offered his opinion over the long-term commitment by three-time champion, Max Verstappen. Mercedes remained in the second position in the Constructors’ Championship as a result of Russell’s second podium of the season, despite being outscored by Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc.
Post the Yas Marina Circuit race, he and Verstappen got into some lighthearted banter in recognition of his upbeat nature. The Dutch driver faced a query regarding his future in the sport while dominating 19 out of 22 races in the season. With a lighthearted “money” gesture, Russell raised the possibility that Verstappen’s prolonged involvement in Formula 1 may be motivated by financial incentives.
Max Verstappen was asked what’s kept him motivated to keep pushing/winning even after winning the championship and George Russell did the money hand sign 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/Dmy7mBoe0S
— deni (@fiagirly) November 27, 2023
Max Verstappen has surpassed Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton to become the highest-paid driver on the grid. He enjoys a lucrative deal with the Austrian outfit with an estimated salary of about $50 million. On the contrary, George Russell, despite having a narrow age gap, earns himself around $10 million, which is levels below that of Verstappen. The Briton has also renewed his contract with Silver Arrows earlier this year.
While acknowledging the cost discrepancy, Russell showed hope that Mercedes can catch up to Red Bull in the next season, noting that the team knows how to deal with the W14.
Helmut Marko identifies the weakness that plagues Max Verstappen
Red Bull and Max Verstappen had one of the most fruitful seasons in F1 history this year. The driver as well as the RB19 machinery dominated the rest of the grid. As the 2023 chapter has ended, the Milton Keynes-based team stands at a whopping 860 points followed by Mercedes who have earned a mere 409 points. Despite the loss at Singapore, Red Bull has won each and every race of the season.
With 575 points, Verstappen overshadowed fellow driver Sergio Perez who had to settle for the second place in the Drivers’ Championship. Red Bull and Verstappen’s alliance has been proven to be indestructible as the team’s advisor Helmut Marko hailed the driver’s overall progress.
📰: Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko commends Max Verstappen’s aggressive yet fair racing in the Las Vegas Grand Prix, emphasizing how the five-second penalty fueled Verstappen’s determination. Marko reveals that Red Bull intentionally saved hard tires for the race, and Verstappen’s… pic.twitter.com/MlnUT5hzH4
— F1 Naija (@f1_naija) November 20, 2023
When inquired about the aspects in which the Dutchman has improved, Marko said, “In all areas. It’s his absolute will to win, he can go to the limit in every situation. He does that with aplomb and ease. He knows how far he can go. We haven’t seen the peak yet.” Other than singing praises about Max, he also added, “Here and there he gets a little impatient when the car is not exactly to his liking.”
Despite the stunning victory at Abu Dhabi, Marko sees a potential area for growth in Verstappen, particularly when the Red Bull setup is not perfect. According to Marko, Verstappen is the front-runner to win a fourth World Championship in 2024.