Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko says ‘ideal’ safety car timing and ‘Mercedes mistakes’ helped Max Verstappen to his first F1 title… as he heaps praise on Sergio Perez for his ‘phenomenal’ work in holding off Lewis Hamilton

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has put Max Verstappen’s first ever Formula One world title down to ‘ideal’ safety car timing and two big mistakes from their rivals at Mercedes. A hugely controversial final race in Abu Dhabi on Sunday saw the Dutchman crowned drivers’ champion, overtaking Hamilton in the last few seconds after a safety car was brought out with just a few laps to go. It was a nervy race from start to finish in Abu Dhabi, with Verstappen starting on pole but quickly squandering his lead to allow Hamilton through. Mercedes lodged two complaints with the FIA after the race, but both were rejected to confirm Verstappen’s place at the top of the sport.

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