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Marko explains why British GP qualifying could be 'Verstappen time'

Ahead of the British Grand Prix, Helmut Marko has praised the abilities of championship leader Max Verstappen, and revealed why he believes qualifying at Silverstone could potentially see the Dutchman come out on top.

Helmut Marko believes that qualifying for the British Grand Prix could be a success for Max Verstappen should it be affected by rain. Showers have been forecast throughout the weekend at Silverstone, with rain falling during running on Friday. Verstappen has arrived into the event with a 46-point lead in the World Championship standings, and Marko thinks that the Dutchman has qualities that set him apart from others. "Max can deliver incredibly under pressure and always keeps track of the race, when to drive where, so that tyres and brakes stay alive," Marko told Austrian newspaper Kronen Zeitung . "He's incredibly strong mentally. The corner he has completed at the limit is immediately a thing of the past for him, he is always one step ahead in his head, immediately at the next corner. "And despite his young age and his sporting and financial success, he is extremely down-to-earth."

Could qualifying go in Verstappen's favour?

Should rain affect Saturday's qualifying session, Marko is confident that Verstappen can make the most of the conditions. "Then it's Verstappen time," the Red Bull advisor said. "Unlike everyone else, Max doesn't need an acclimatisation phase. He goes out and is a second faster right off the bat. Max won't ask for rain because Silverstone isn't fun then, but if it is, we know we have the best wild card." Verstappen might have a comfortable gap between himself and nearest rivals Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc in the championship standings, but Marko remains wary of how quickly this could change. "Last year we had a good cushion before Silverstone, after Budapest it was all gone. That can happen quickly," he added. "But we were capable of winning everywhere this year except Barcelona, and that makes us optimistic."

Marko assesses Ferrari and Mercedes' chances

Marko thinks that the small details will be key in Red Bull's continuing battle with Ferrari. "A duel of equals, nuances will decide which way the pendulum swings," he explained. As for Mercedes, Marko is expecting them to be strong at Silverstone. "They could be the big winner, the track will suit them," the Austrian continued. "But that brings back unpleasant memories for us of last year, when [Lewis] Hamilton catapulted Max off the track. That's still stuck deep in people's heads."

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