Aug.30 (GMM) Even at Formula 1’s clearly dominant team, the pressure is still on.
Top Red Bull official Dr Helmut Marko, however, couldn’t possibly be happier with reigning champion Max Verstappen – whose advantage over Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc is now almost 100 points.
“It was easier than expected,” the 79-year-old beamed to Sky Deutschland after Sunday’s Belgian GP.
“To be honest, we weren’t too sure of ourselves, but after the first few laps we saw that Max was significantly faster than the rest of the field.
“The ease with which Max is currently performing these services is incredible. It’s a combination of his self-confidence and the incredible driving class of Max Verstappen.
“Our engine is reliable and can keep up. Everything is fine at the moment.”
Red Bull has denied rumours that a special lightweight chassis made its debut at Spa-Francorchamps, and one clear sign that Verstappen was the main key to his dominance is the fact that teammate Sergio Perez is not directly on his heels.
“He has definitely improved,” Marko said, “but he has to be fully there from the first practice session. Maybe then we’ll manage a couple of 1-2s.
“That would be the first time we’ve finished first and second in the world championship. That’s our next goal.”
Former F1 driver Christijan Albers agrees that Verstappen’s dominance is more about the driver than the car.
“That it’s the deadly combination of Red Bull and Verstappen that makes the difference is painful for Perez. If I had been Perez, I would have kept my helmet on after that race,” he told De Telegraaf.
“It’s also nonsense that Perez is a ‘tyre whisperer’. Max has had that under better control for several seasons,” Albers added.
From Ferrari’s perspective, however, the situation is clear and Leclerc, Carlos Sainz and Mattia Binotto have all hinted that the 2022 title is effectively now gone.
“It was like they had no downforce, but in the corners they were just as fast as us or even a little faster,” Leclerc said. “That’s pretty worrying for us as we don’t have an answer at the moment.”