McLaren’s car now ‘better’ than Red Bull’s – Verstappen

Sun, 23 June 2024, 08:46

Jun.23 (GMM) McLaren is already “better” than Red Bull, triple world champion and 2024 championship leader Max Verstappen admitted in Barcelona.

He was speaking after qualifying, where Lando Norris just managed to squeak ahead of Verstappen’s previously-dominant Red Bull to secure pole position.

Heading into the weekend, Red Bull’s F1 advisor Dr Helmut Marko said the outcome of the Spanish GP would be a “benchmark” result for the rest of the world championship.

“The track has almost all types of corners, so if a car is fast there, it is also good for a world championship,” the Austrian declared.

Saturday’s P2, therefore, might be a “wake-up call” for Red Bull.

“I think we are pretty much very awake already with what’s happening,” Verstappen said. “Yeah, we need to push on. We need to bring parts faster, better.

“I mean, we had a very dominant car last year, and I mean that’s completely gone. We need to really try to make a step ahead again.”

Red Bull has only minor updates in Spain, as opposed to many key rivals. “It looks like there are more updates around us than with us, yes,” Verstappen said.

The good news is that a bigger update is not too far away. “I know what’s coming,” said the 26-year-old, who still leads the drivers’ standings by 56 points.

“Sometimes updates turn out better than other times, so I’ll just leave that open,” Verstappen added.

For his part, Marko said he was “relieved” that the gap to McLaren’s Norris was a mere two hundredths of a second. “After the third free practice session we were not sure whether a front row start would be possible,” the 81-year-old told Sky Deutschland.

“It’s clear that McLaren has made incredible progress over the last few race weekends and has a good car for all circuits and all tyre types,” he added.

“If we look at the long runs on Friday, McLaren is the clear favourite.”

The real question, however, is if McLaren’s 2024 car is now actually “better” than the Red Bull. “Better. Yes,” Verstappen said.

“Otherwise, they wouldn’t be in front of us.”

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