Helmut Marko rubbishes Sergio Perez claims with striking Max Verstappen forecast

Red Bull endured a weekend to forget at the Australian Grand Prix as Max Verstappen completed just four laps of the race

Helmut Marko disagrees with Sergio Perez’s belief that Carlos Sainz would have won the Australian Grand Prix even if Max Verstappen hadn’t suffered a terminal brake problem on lap four. The reigning world champion lost the lead of the race to the Ferrari star on lap two and was forced to retire just a couple of laps later

Verstappen had secured pole position in impressive fashion on Saturday, punching in a time that was nearly three-tenths of a second faster than Sainz’s personal best. When the lights went out at Albert Park on Sunday, he comfortably retained the lead but was then passed just one lap later around the outside of turn nine

Perez, meanwhile, had qualified third on the grid but was demoted to sixth after the stewards judged that he had impeded Nico Hulkenberg in Q1. In the race, he struggled to make inroads on the Ferrari and McLaren cars and eventually took the chequered flag in P5 after running in no man’s land for most of the afternoon.

“Absolutely yes,” Perez told Sky Sports F1 when asked whether Ferrari would have won if his team-mate hadn’t suffered a DNF. “We didn’t have the pace, unfortunately. Early on we could see that Ferrari and McLaren were a step ahead of us. I think we just couldn’t get the balance in a window

F1 Grand Prix of Australia - Previews

There is some work to do for the coming races. It was a very unique tarmac and throughout the weekend we were not able to manage the best possible grip level. We didn’t have the pace throughout the weekend

We were struggling already on Friday and we never got on top of the management of tyres. I think we just have to understand and make sure we are able to improve. We already saw last year in a track like this, for example, Vegas, Ferrari was a lot stronger than us, so we just couldn’t look after the front tyres.

These opinions were not backed up by Red Bull advisor Marko, who believed that Verstappen had the necessary pace in hand to battle Sainz for the win, even while managing brake issues.

“I spoke to Max and he said that despite the problems, he kept up with Sainz’s pace relatively easily,” Marko told Sky Germany after the Australian GP. “With Max in the race, the outcome would have been completely different.”


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