Red Bull criticise Ferrari and Mercedes

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has acknowledged the challenges faced by Max Verstappen in Canada which reduced his race lead.

Helmut Marko, a senior advisor at Red Bull, has cautioned Ferrari and Mercedes against reading too much into the team’s performance in Canada, stating that Red Bull was not operating at its optimal level. 

Throughout the practice sessions, Max Verstappen expressed dissatisfaction with downshift issues in his Red Bull RB19, struggling to adapt to the gearbox’s behaviour on Friday and Saturday.

During the qualifying simulations in FP2 on Friday, Verstappen and his teammate Sergio Perez found themselves in sixth and eighth place respectively. 

However, Verstappen quickly regained his form during a wet qualifying session on Saturday, securing a commanding pole position at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, finishing more than a second ahead of his competitors thanks to the unpredictable weather.

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While Verstappen claimed another victory on Sunday, his triumph came with a margin of 9.5 seconds over Fernando Alonso in dry conditions. 

In contrast, his previous wins in Spain and Monaco had more substantial gaps of 27 and 24 seconds, respectively. 

Marko expressed initial concern about Ferrari and Mercedes after their practice troubles but assured that Red Bull’s performance in Canada was simply subpar.

Marko, speaking on the F1 Nation podcast, stated: “Yes, they did close the gap here, but we didn’t perform as we should have. 

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“We struggled to bring the tires up to temperature, especially the hard tire. Everyone believes that the Red Bull is fantastic. 

“Yes, it’s a good car, but Ferrari and Mercedes haven’t made significant improvements from last year. 

“I believe they have regressed at the start of this season. So, when we are not at our best, they are closer. It’s as simple as that.”

Verstappen himself acknowledged the difficulty of generating tire temperature in his Red Bull and even drove for most of the race with a bird carcass lodged in his car after an unfortunate collision with the animal. 

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Although the margin of victory was narrower than his previous wins this season, he expressed satisfaction with achieving his fourth consecutive victory.

Verstappen commented after the race: “Firstly, I expected more or less what we had today, but it was really difficult to maintain grip and tire temperature because the grip was diminishing rapidly. 

“That’s why the gap wasn’t as significant. We also had a few Safety Car periods. But overall, we won, and that’s the most important thing.”