Max Verstappen says Dr Helmut Marko’s spiky reputation may not be entirely deserved as he has always found the Red Bull chief to be a friendly character.
Tales of Marko’s harsh assessments of his drivers are legendary, with the likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat having previously recounted occasions they were on the end of a tongue-lashing from the Austrian.
However, Verstappen says he has never had a problem with Marko’s straight-talking ways.
“Helmut gave me a chance in Formula 1 in 2015 and promoted to Red Bull Racing in 2016,” Verstappen told De Telegraaf.
“I think our bond is even more personal now than it was then. We get along very well. We have experienced enough together. Many beautiful moments, but also bad moments such as a crash or things like that.
“He is straightforward, very honest and open. He may look a bit angry sometimes, and it seems like it’s hard to get in touch with him, but he’s actually very friendly.
“If all goes well, that is of course easy to say, but overall I can get along very well with Helmut. He is a very driven person.”
Verstappen’s three wins in 2018 took his overall tally to eight, many of which have been celebrated with Marko, including his first in Spain in 2016 and most recent in Brazil.
“If Helmut is around, I usually go to him first,” he said. “That happened to be true in both Barcelona and Brazil.
“In Barcelona you see that he is already at my car, I just want to give him a hand and then he flies around my neck.
“Recently in Brazil I first went to Helmut behind the fence and then, a little further, to the team.
“It’s hard for me to jump into Helmut because then he would fall over, ha ha! All those engineers and other team members are with enough people to take care of me.”