Dr Helmut Marko has admitted his disappointment with Lewis Hamilton’s apparent return to form. After a tumultuous season, not only was the McLaren driver smiling again after the recent Abu Dhabi race, he was also holding aloft the winner’s trophy.
Marko, Red Bull’s motor sport consultant, insisted after the Yas Marina event that had Sebastian Vettel not retired with a blown tyre, Briton Hamilton might not have been smiling so widely.
Nonetheless, he told Auto Motor und Sport, “For us, we would not have minded if Hamilton had stayed quiet for even longer. When he is back at 100 per cent, Mr Hamilton is a dangerous opponent.”
The German report said Marko and Red Bull fear McLaren – the famous British team that has surged back to top form during the course of 2011 – more than Ferrari or Mercedes.
“They are like a terrier biting a bit more with each race,” he smiled. “McLaren emerge from every crisis, which shows the class of a racing team.”
McLaren’s obvious target for 2012 is, unlike in recent years, to not just end a season on terms with Red Bull, but also to begin it with a winning car.
“Our car is always as good as the Red Bull eventually,” Hamilton is quoted as saying. “It would be helpful for the future if we get there earlier than we have been.”