Marko: Red Bull 2020 line-up deadline a ‘mistake’

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko said he made a “mistake” when claiming Red Bull would decide their drivers for 2020 after the Mexican GP.

Pierre Gasly suffered a torrid first half of his debut season with the team and was demoted back to Toro Rosso over the summer break, with Alex Albon coming the other way.

Since then Albon has been narrowing the pace deficit to Verstappen, even setting an identical time to his team-mate’s in Q3 at the Japanese GP, while Albon has claimed more points than Verstappen in his time at Red Bull, scoring 58 to the Dutchman’s 39.

But, a decision on the futures of all the Red Bull drivers will take longer to arrive than expected, with Marko saying he made a “mistake” with his previous comments having got the date of the Mexican GP muddled up.

“It was a mistake of mine to say that,” Marko told Autosport.

“I had in mind that Mexico would take place after the USA. Actually, it’s the other way around.

“But in the meantime, we have confirmed that all three drivers [Alex Albon, Pierre Gasly, Daniil Kvyat] will stay in our teams. Max’s situation is clear anyway. Now we’re in no hurry for when we decide who will drive in which team.”

Red Bull principal Christian Horner has said that the second Red Bull seat is Albon’s to lose, and Marko similarly has been impressed with the Anglo-Thai driver since stepping up to the senior team.

“He [Max] is a strong driver. He can afford to have a strong driver next to him,” Marko explained.

“But Albon has shown since Suzuka that he can be almost as fast as Max.”

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Hamilton ‘could shatter’ Schumacher’s records

Mercedes principal Toto Wolff believes Lewis Hamilton “could shatter” the seemingly unassailable records set by Michael Schumacher.

Schumacher, who is regarded as one of if not the greatest F1 driver of all time, has a record seven World Championships to his name, while his 91 victories in F1 is also an achievement currently unmatched.

But, Hamilton is on his way to equalling both of those. The Mercedes man can secure his sixth World Championship at the United States Grand Prix, while his 83 wins put him only eight short of equaling Schumacher’s tally.

Wolff is sure that if Mercedes continue to provide the car, then Hamilton “could shatter” those records.

“I think he’s going to race as long as he feels he enjoys it and that he is competitive enough,” Wolff told Reuters when asked if he saw Hamilton racing into his 40s like Schumacher.

“There is an age factor, that isn’t kicking in and that hasn’t happened (yet). Kimi (Raikkonen) has had his 40th birthday so why not?

“In between we need to continue to deliver a good enough car. If we do that, then yes he could shatter (Schumacher’s records).”

As Hamilton moves closer to these records the pressure will only increase further, but Wolff thinks Hamilton has shown throughout his career that he can handle pressure.

“I think it’s exciting. It’s an exciting potential new target,” Wolff said of the prospect of chasing Schumacher’s stats.

“Of course the pressure will increase but if he would not be able to cope with pressure, he wouldn’t be a five or six times world champion.”

Hamilton has been somewhat of a polarising figure throughout his career, but Wolff believes the greatest drivers, especially Schumacher, are only appreciated fully when their careers are over.

“It is a funny thing with extraordinary achievements that they are recognized and praised much more once a career has ended,” Wolff explained.

“Michael, while in the middle of his career, polarized a lot. There was a lot of criticism. Today there is not one person who doesn’t speak about him as the greatest of all time.

“At the moment he is still leading the table.”

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Masi happy for stewards to take time with penalties

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