We don’t know what Mad Dog Helmut Marko does at Red Bull F1, it has never really been fully explained. He is listed as a Red Bull advisor but is often heard complaining about the team’s number two driver. If you are in the Red Bull number two seat you have to be on top of your game, otherwise, the Mad Dog will bite and then savage you. And the savaging will be prolonged as the Mad Dog roams around the paddock sniffing for the next number two replacement to maul. Brendon Hartley was savaged out of the team, Pierre Gasley ditto, and Alex Albon was given the good cop bad cop treatment. Christian Horner being the good cop and the Mad Dog being the goose-stepping, self-righteous bad cop.
It is tough being the number two driver alongside Max Verstappen who through no fault of his own has annihilated every teammate put alongside him. From the outside Red Bull F1 looks like an autocratic and brutal combat zone where talented drivers willingly go to die. And the Mad Dog is not wasting any time with the next Red Bull victim in the making, Sergio Perez. Finally, for the first time since Daniel Ricciardo, Perez is a bona fide F1 pilot. Perez’s job is to fight for podiums, he is the sweeper. He might be given the chance to win the occasional race if circumstances allow.
Perez, not unexpectedly, out-qualified Verstappen at Imola but had a poor race by his standards. Unsurprisingly the Mad Dog wasn’t satisfied. During an interview with a legacy Austrian TV channel he growlingly remarked :
“It started well in qualifying, Suddenly, out of nowhere, he drives the second-best time. Then we thought everything would fit.”
“I think he didn’t manage to get the tyres up to temperature right away like Max did. Of course, 11th place is more than annoying.”
“Above all, the spin at the restart cost him everything. Basically, it was a very bad day with a bad performance. All in all, it was not a good day for ‘Checo.”
The war between Mad Dog Helmut Marko and Sergio Perez has begun.