Helmut Marko fires warning about Ferrari’s ‘frightening pace’

Red Bull looked second best on Friday in Hungary.

Marko comments on Red Bull Mercedes tensions.v1

Red Bull adviser Dr Helmut Marko sees Ferrari as the absolute favourites for the Hungarian Grand Prix after their authoritative performance during practice in Budapest.

Carlos Sainz beat Max Verstappen to the fastest lap in the first session on Friday, before Charles Leclerc topped the second session, with Sainz in third after an impressive showing from McLaren’s Lando Norris to take second.

Verstappen was 0.150 seconds adrift of Sainz in the first session, but lost just over a tenth in the second hour of practice to Leclerc.

His team-mate, Sergio Perez, struggled during day one as he finished sixth and ninth respectively in the two sessions, and was an average of over eight tenths off Ferrari’s pace.

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Dr Marko revealed that the team had made some set-up changes ahead of FP2, but they had little to no effect on their performance.

“The changes we made between the first and second practice were definitely not productive or did nothing,” he told Sky Germany.

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“It got worse before, so we have to see if we can find a better compromise there.”

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On long run pace on the Mediums, the Austrian was concerned at the consistent pace deficit to the Scuderia, so he is anticipating a very strong weekend from his rivals this weekend.

“But especially on the medium tyre the superiority of the Ferrari is frightening. It will be very, very difficult and you can’t count on anything going wrong [for Ferrari],” added Dr Marko.

However, rain is expected for both FP3 and qualifying, which throws another element into the mix; Verstappen has taken pole position in two of the last three rain-affected qualifying sessions, and he won the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix earlier this season after a wet start to the race.

Perez took out the win in Monaco following a delay due to torrential rain at the start, so if there is a downpour as forecast on Saturday, qualifying, and subsequently the race, will be a very enticing prospect.