Helmut Marko has accepted there was nothing sinister at play regarding Lewis Hamilton’s ‘rocket’ engine in Brazil.

After two damaging defeats to Max Verstappen in the United States and Mexico, Hamilton began to get his World Championship hopes back on track in the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

He did so with a new engine that enabled him to set the fastest time in Q3 by 0.438sec, although the Briton was then excluded from the qualifying results as his car’s rear wing failed a legality test.

Therefore starting sprint qualifying from the back of the field, Hamilton passed 15 cars in 24 laps to finish fifth but then incurred another grid penalty as the new engine was his fourth of the season, so he dropped five places to 10th for the race.

However, such was the pace of Hamilton’s Mercedes that despite some aggressive defensive driving from Verstappen, he improved nine places on his grid slot to win the grand prix by over 10 seconds.

The engine, which was then ‘rested’ in Qatar where Hamilton still won decisively, was subsequently described as a “rocket” by Red Bull consultant Marko.

However, the 78-year-old Austrian also made the pointed comment ahead of its return for Saudi Arabia that “because you can no longer lower the spoiler, it will no longer bring an advantage of 0.4 seconds”.

Ultimately, of course, although Hamilton completed a trio of consecutive race victories in Jeddah that meant he went to the finale in Abu Dhabi level on points, it was Verstappen who was crowned Drivers’ champion in controversial circumstances.

Marko has subsequently been rather more conciliatory towards Mercedes than was the case throughout the season and no longer has any desire to raise issues over an engine described as “the spicy equipment” by Toto Wolff.

“I’m sure everything was legal in the races after Brazil,” Marko told Formel1.de, quoted by Motorsport-total.com. “All the top speed measurements were within the limits again afterwards.

“The way Hamilton flew past us [in Sao Paulo], that was already a unique situation. Everything fitted together perfectly on that engine, we know that too.

“It was just amazing, there are six Mercedes-powered cars (actually eight) and only Hamilton had such a wonder weapon. But that’s the way it is and we don’t want to accuse anything there.”

 

Clearly feeling some festive-season benevolence, Marko also recently hailed the “great gesture” from Mercedes in dropping their declared intention to appeal against the Abu Dhabi result that meant Hamilton losing his title.

 

 

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