Helmut Marko makes unusual request to Mercedes ahead of Austrian Grand Prix

Helmut Marko makes unusual request to Mercedes ahead of Austrian Grand Prix

Helmut Marko has asked for a favour from Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton delivered his best performance of the season at the Spanish Grand Prix which has impressed Red Bull boss Helmut Marko as he revealed what he expects to see from the Mercedes driver.

Marko acknowledges he desires to see  Mercedes make more progress after Hamilton’s podium finish at the Spanish Grand Prix because it would benefit Red Bull. Max Verstappen edged Lando Norris to win the race with a two-second gap, while the seven-time world champion finished P3.

Norris currently ranks second in the Driver Standings and 69 points behind the reigning champion following a consistent run of impressive performances – four second-placed finishes and a first ever career win in his last six races.

Meanwhile, Hamilton sits eighth, a spot behind his Mercedes teammate George Russell who finished third in Canada and followed that up with P4 in Barcelona.

Norris is closing the gap on Verstappen to deliver the most challenging championship battle against the Dutchman since 2021, and Marko admits that Red Bull would gain an advantage if Hamilton and Mercedes have the capacity to regularly challenge the McLaren driver.

Writing for Speedweek ahead of the Austrian GP, Marko said: “Another challenge awaits us in Spielberg. Max always has a chance of winning, but we will spend a weekend there in sprint format, and that means that we only have one session to set up the car.

“Recently, however, we had always needed all three practice sessions to bring the car halfway into balance. If this problem persists, then this could make life difficult for us. And last year came the resurrection of McLaren at the Red Bull Ring.

“There they brought their upgrade and from there they were quick. However, Max drives practically flawlessly, thank God Lando can’t do that yet, but he remains our main competitor.

“I therefore hope that Mercedes will become stronger and be the second strongest force for a while, which would certainly help us with a view to the World Championship.”

This marks a significant change in mindset from Marko considering that Mercedes and Red Bull were fierce title rivals a while back. However, Hamilton hasn’t won a race since Saudi Arabia 2021, ahead of his switch to Ferrari at the end of 2024 F1.

Marko’s Mercedes request comes amid Hamilton’s controversial comments about teammate Russell. He claimed that he may not get the advantage over his teammate in qualifying due to Russell using the team’s new front wing.

However, Hamilton remains upbeat Mercedes are making significant progress in pursuit of the championship leaders after his best result of the season.

“I feel great, I feel fantastic, I’ve got plenty of energy,” the 39-year old said. “After a bad start, to recover and get back into P3 is a really, really great job.

“I’m really happy. We’re getting there, we’re getting closer, and a big, big thank you to the team, because we’re slowly closing the gap.

“This is the best weekend I’ve had all year and for a long, long time, for like 15 races or something crazy. It’s good to be back, it’s good to have battles like today, it’s good to reassert and reaffirm.”

Russell also echoed his teammate’s remarks after his P4 finish.

“It’s been a couple of races in a row now, we’re fighting for the front rows of the grid, fighting for podiums,” he said. “It’s really exciting to see the progress we’ve made and I feel like we can really build from this now.”

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