Max Verstappen claimed his sixth victory of the 2022 season at the Canadian Grand Prix last Sunday, opening a 46-point lead at the top of the drivers’ championship.
It is Red Bull’s sixth straight win and seventh in nine races this year, giving it a considerable lead at the top of the constructors’ championship.
The turnaround in Verstappen’s fortunes has been rapid this year. After two retirements in the first three races, he fell 45 points behind rival Ferrari Charles Leclerc, to enjoy a huge swing from Australia.
Red Bull adviser Marko urged caution over Verstappen’s lead, noting “how quickly it can backfire” in F1, but was backed by the team’s recent form and run of victories.
“The main thing is that you have to finish and avoid these reliability issues,” Marko told TSWT.
“We also had a sprint race, which helped us a lot to get more points.
“We have an amazing run now, normally in the first half of the season we were always catching up and now we are dominating.
“You have to say that if you win seven races out of the first nine, that’s dominance.”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
The form saw Red Bull enjoy its best start to an F1 season since 2011, when Sebastian Vettel won six of the opening eight races en route to a dominating win in both championships.
But there were still reliability issues for Red Bull at the start of the year. Verstappen failed to finish in Bahrain and Australia due to a fuel line issue, while teammate Sergio Perez was sidelined early in Canada with a gearbox issue.
“Reliability is always a concern if you have a car that is so borderline,” Marko said.
“You see that at Ferrari. The only ones that don’t have a technical DNF yet are Mercedes, but they had to lift during some races due to overheating issues.
Red Bull are set to investigate what happened to Perez’s gearbox in Canada, but team principal Christian Horner says it “looks like a gearbox failure”.
“It was definitely something in the transmission, the engine looks good,” said Horner. “So until we get it back it’s hard to say. But it’s a suspicious gearbox.