Lewis Hamilton reignites Helmut Marko feud with Perez comment

The Briton has reignited the feud between himself and Marko, which stretches back to his comments made about Red Bull driver Sergio Perez in September 2023

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Lewis Hamilton has taken a swipe at Helmut Marko by cheekily suggesting the Red Bull advisor inspired Sergio Perez’s helmet choice for the Formula 1 2024 Miami Grand Prix.

Hamilton has never been afraid to call out the 80-year-old’s behaviour in the past, most noticeably in September 2023 when Marko controversially said to Austrian TV that South American drivers lacked the same focus as their European counterparts, clearly referencing Perez’s struggle for form. He later retracted his remarks.

But for Hamilton, 39, the damage had been done and the Mercedes star accused Marko of taking motorsport backwards with his outdated comments. Some eight months later, he has reignited their feud, poking fun at Marko during the drivers’ conference in Miami on Thursday.

When Perez was asked by the interviewer about the Latin American influence on his helmet design for the race, featuring a number of flags from the region, Hamilton interjected in the background, appearing to say: “Marko!”

Helmut Marko apologised to Sergio Perez. | Dan Mullan / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

A puzzled Perez responded “what?”, to which Hamilton said: “Helmut Marko” while laughing, prompting a brief chuckle from the Mexican driver before responding to the question.

“It’s a massive pleasure and pride to be able to represent all the Latin countries. Obviously here in Miami, I get a lot of support, not just from the Mexican side, just the whole Latin community and it’s something that makes me extremely proud,” Perez told the written press in Miami, including Total-Motorsport.com.

“It’s really hard as a Latin driver to win in this sport, so I really want one [victory for] them to feel the pride and hopefully, this helmet can can represent something that I feel on them.”

Why Perez forgave Marko

Hamilton – a passionate activist in fighting against discrimination in F1 and beyond – launched a scathing attack on Marko, telling the Red Bull veteran his comments were “not something you just apologise [for] and it’s all OK”.

“I think there needs to be more done,” the seven-time world champion said at the time. “There are a lot of people in the background that really are trying to combat these sorts of things, but it’s hard to manoeuvre if there are people in the top that have those sort of mindsets that just stop us from progressing.”

However, Perez attempted to bring a close to the matter by revealing he accepted Marko’s apology, after the Austrian had reached out to him to clear the air.

“I had a private conversation with him and he did apologise,” Perez told the press ahead of the 2023 Singapore GP. “And that to me was the main thing.

“I know he doesn’t mean it that way. I took his apology because I know Helmut, and the personal relationship that we have, and he hasn’t mean it that way.”

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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