F1 news: Johnny Herbert slams Helmut Marko for claiming Lewis Hamilton ‘wishes he had retired’

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Johnny Herbert has hit out at Red Bull chief Helmut Marko for teasing Lewis Hamilton over his Mercedes woe.

The seven-time world champion came home a meagre 13th at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and was even lapped by former title rival Max Verstappen.

Marko, 79, responded by pondering if Hamilton, 37, is thinking he should have retired in the summer - something that did not impress former Formula One driver Herbert.

“What a cheap shot - typical Helmut Marko and Red Bull to be honest,” he stated on Sky Sports.

“After everything that happened last year, what a battle there was between Max and Lewis, between Red Bull and Mercedes, the race at the end of the year as we know was completely and utterly wrong.

“But [Hamilton] was the man who dominated the last part of that year, it just shows that he was on fire at the end of last year.

“Would [Red Bull] want him in their car? Yes they would. But they know he’s a big, big threat for them once Mercedes get everything together.”

Mercedes have been forced to admit that they are out of the title race this season after only four races but Herbert believes Hamilton remains integral to their turnaround.

“I think what he’s always been very good at doing is being a leader,” he noted. “I think that really kicked off when he first joined McLaren with Fernando Alonso, and how he was able to develop himself within the team.

“That’s exactly what he’s been able to do at Mercedes. [Also] motivation within the team, it’s massively important for a driver to get the best out of the personnel - especially in this situation.

“That’s where he’ll be inspiring within the team as he’s still very, very driven to get the best out of himself and the team.”

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