Helmut Marko warns Max Verstappen amid Ferrari concern

Red Bull’s long-serving and key advisor has acknowledged Ferrari's strong pace on the Hard and Medium tyres

Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s key advisor, has raised concerns about Ferrari’s speed on both the Hard and Medium tyre compounds during the Canadian Grand Prix, posing a potential threat to Max Verstappen’s dominance.

Marko revealed that Verstappen faced difficulties in getting the Hard tyres up to temperature during his middle stint. 

The team attributed this issue to the long straights at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, which tend to cool down the tyres. 

As a result, Verstappen’s pace was compromised, allowing both Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton to close in on him while battling for second place.

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The relatively narrow win margin of 9.5 seconds for Verstappen indicated that the race was more challenging than anticipated. 

Marko expressed his thoughts to ServusTV, saying: “It wasn’t easy, we had problems with the Hard tyres to get them up to temperature. The race was harder than we thought.”

Marko also expressed relief that both Ferrari cars started outside the top five, as their impressive performance during Friday practice had raised concerns within the Red Bull camp. 

“But luckily Ferrari started further back, as they were fastest on both sets of tyres,” he added.

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During the race, Verstappen encountered two significant moments that could have resulted in disaster. 

At one point, he collided with a bird, which became lodged between the front right brake ducts, risking a failure or an unscheduled pit stop. 

READ: Lewis Hamilton makes surprising Max Verstappen prediction

Additionally, he had a tense moment when he hit one of the raised kerbs at Turn 9, narrowly avoiding the barriers. Earlier in the race, George Russell had suffered damage to his car after a similar incident at the same spot.

Verstappen, over the team radio, mentioned that he “almost knocked myself out,” while Marko speculated that the incident might have occurred because Verstappen was momentarily distracted. 

“Maybe he was looking at the TV screens; he often does that!” Marko exclaimed.