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Helmut Marko

Marko: Competitive Mercedes 'works out well' for Red Bull

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko has highlighted how a resurgent Mercedes can take points of McLaren and Ferrari, as his team looks to maintain its control on the F1 constructors' championship.

Russell Verstappen
Article
To news overview © XPBimages

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko wants Mercedes to be back in the race-winning picture, as it will benefit his team over the rest of the season.

The Brackley-based outfit has closed up to the only-recently-formed trio of Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari since the Monaco Grand Prix, and was ahead of the Scuderia at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in the most recent round.

This helped Lewis Hamilton and George Russell to a second consecutive three-four finish, with many now contending that the team is well and truly back in the frame for battling for race wins.

Whether that comes to fruition over the rest of the year remains to be seen, but even expanding the front three into a leading quartet has its benefits to Red Bull - as Marko is acutely aware of.

Whilst Mercedes remains some way back in the Constructors' standings, both McLaren and Ferrari are within 100 points of the reigning champions, with over half the season still to run. 

Sergio Perez has struggled of late, leaving Max Verstappen to fight alone at the sharp end of the points, having a third team vying to be Red Bull's main challenger has mathematical benefits, as on any given weekend two of the three chasing teams will likely be unable to maximise its points-scoring.

"If Mercedes is there now, it will work out well for us and our calculations of the world championship," the 81-year-old told OE24. 

Verstappen 'cannot drive a whole season on the limit'

At the Spanish Grand Prix, Verstappen again pulled out an impressive display to take victory on a weekend when Red Bull had no discernible advantage - something he has done in three of the past four rounds, in Imola, Montreal and now Barcelona.

So whilst Mercedes returning to competitiveness is a net gain for the Red Bull, and the Dutchman continued to show his sustained excellence, the weekend at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is not all positive for his team.

With the performance gap between the RB20 and those closest to it undeniably smaller than at the start of the season - as was seen in Spain, where the Milton Keynes team was arguably second-fastest behind McLaren - it was put to Marko whether Red Bull had lost the initiative at the front of the field.

"That is correct," The Austrian said, "Max cannot drive a whole season on the limit either. The overtaking manoeuvre with which he took the lead was extraordinary even for him. Max wins because he is so confident, not because the car is so good."

A compounding factor pushing Verstappen further to the limit, is his lack of rear gunner at the moment. Perez had a three-place grid penalty carried over from the Canadian Grand Prix, but with the 34-year-old only qualifying in eighth, he would not have been in the fight at the front - something Marko says the team can no longer afford.

"Checo started much further back," he added. "But it's true. Now that everything is so close together, you can't afford weaknesses."

Also interesting:

Verstappen's brilliant win, as Norris is continuing to develop as a driver. Perez's struggles and Lewis Hamilton's return to the podium are also discussed!

Join the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, reflecting on the Spanish Grand Prix and looking ahead to this weeked's Austrian Grand Prix!

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