Verstappen led from lights to flag in Monaco to secure his second win of the season and move into the lead of the F1 drivers’ championship for the first time, capitalising on a bad weekend for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes.
After fending off Valtteri Bottas at the first corner, Verstappen rarely looked at risk of coming under pressure at the front of the race, crossing the line nine seconds clear of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr.
The controlled display won Verstappen praise from Marko, who highlighted the young Dutchman’s maturity and composure in managing the race.
“He has certainly reached a different level of maturity,” Marko said on Sky Germany.
“We kept him on his toes with fuel modes and such. He had to understand quite a lot.
“When he started asking who had the fastest lap and with what time, we immediately blocked him and told him: ‘Forget all that!’”
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, arrives on the podium
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Red Bull was quick to tell Verstappen not to chase the fastest lap after Hamilton made a late pitstop for fresh soft tyres, setting a time that was likely to be out of reach.
But the bonus point did not stop Hamilton from losing the lead of the championship, slipping four points behind Verstappen.
Taking top spot in the standings capped off a big day of firsts for Verstappen, who put to an end a difficult record in Monaco with a win that also marked his first podium in the principality.
Verstappen failed to finish in his first two Monaco starts, and missed a possible chance to win in 2018 after crashing in final practice, ruling him out of qualifying.
Despite finishing second on the road and hassling Hamilton for the lead in 2019, a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release in the pits dropped him to fourth place.
Asked what a victory in Monaco meant for Verstappen’s CV, Marko felt it would act as another boost, particularly due to the fashion of his performance.
“We haven’t had a podium here yet [with Max], although we’ve had a car that can win twice – Ricciardo proved that, after all,” Marko said.
“I think that gives him another boost of relief. It should make his performances even more confident and controlled.
“That was also very, very important for the future.”