Max Verstappen did not manage to qualify in P1 in yesterday’s qualifying, and Helmut Marko might have some answers to his lack of pace.
Marko said that the condition of the track was not perfect, and Verstappen could not bring the tires in the right temperature window. That did not allow him to push flat out, and he missed on pole position by less than a tenth.
The gap between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was just 0.075 seconds, but the Mercedes driver was about to set a faster time were not for the mistakes he made in the last sector.
Helmut Marko believes that the problems suffered by Max could be related to tire temperature.
“We didn’t have the tires at the right temperature,” Marko explained in an exclusive interview.
“In addition, we lose a surprising amount of time on the straights. Mercedes is faster in Sector 1.”
Verstappen also admitted that the team had some work to do after qualifying to understand what went wrong and improve the performance, which is not going to be easy due to the parc ferme rule.
The parc ferme regulation does not allow the teams to change the setup of the car. Therefore, Max needs to stick with that setup, and Marko also admitted that Red Bull will try to think about new ways of approaching the second free practice session.
“We still have to think about what exactly we are doing there,” he explained.
“It cannot be that we are only taking away engine mileage. That could perhaps be a boring exercise.”
To conclude, Red Bull struggled also due to the track condition, which was cooler compared to FP1. Thus, Marko believes that that and some changes to the setup did not help Red Bull.
“The temperature was lower,” Marko said.
“In addition, we changed some things about the car that did not turn out well but will have an impact in the race. Of course, we would have liked to have been in the first position.”
“We didn’t have this problem in the first practice, but we experienced it for the first time in qualifying.”