Red Bull Special Advisor Helmut Marko says Max Verstappen would have won last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix even if he had started from the back of the grid.
Despite setting the fastest lap in Saturday's qualifying session at the Circuit Spa-Francorchamps, Verstappen was obliged to start 14th after taking a grid penalty for excessive component usage.
Undaunted, Verstappen scythed his way through the field and was never headed from Lap 18, winning with consummate ease from teammate Sergio Perez.
Speaking after the race, Marko acknowledged that Verstappen's level of dominance was such that he could have won from 20th on the grid.
"I think so," Marko told media including RacingNews365.com when asked whether such a feat would have been possible, adding that Verstappen's father Jos had been confident in his son's abilities to win despite a grid penalty.
"We knew already before the [summer] break that we would change the engine here, and thought, 'okay, at least let's try to get points', but after the qualifying lap, we thought a podium should be possible, but Jos said, 'no, he will win'," said Marko.
"[At Spa], you need a strong engine, and since 2021, we have an engine that has the same horsepower as the others."
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Marko: We have stronger opposition now
Verstappen has won nine of 14 races so far in 2022, and holds a 93-point lead in the Championship standings over Perez in second place.
Pressed on whether Verstappen's performances reminded him of Sebastian Vettel's four consecutive titles for Red Bull between 2010 and 2013, Marko said the Dutchman's dominance so far this season was all the more satisfying given the standard of opposition.
"We haven't seen [dominance like that] since then. This time, we have strong opposition," said Marko.
"With Vettel, we raced against Ferrari mainly, one year against McLaren, but here we race against Ferrari and Mercedes, so we are satisfied and we are really proud."
Marko: Red Bull are 'fast in all corners'
Marko added that he was confident that Red Bull and Verstappen would continue to be strong over the season's final eight races.
"We have been fast in all types of corners," said Marko.
"At Zandvoort, you have to qualify very well, because overtaking is very difficult and you don't know what the weather forecast is, if it's windy, or if there's sand on the circuit.
"But we are in good shape, in good form, and the good thing is we don't have to win every race. If we see we can't win, okay, we go for points.
"There are still eight races to go. I believe we have to win two or three more to be safe in the Championship."
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As Max Verstappen took a dominant win in the Belgian Grand Prix, plenty of attention remains on off-track matters, with Audi confirming their 2026 arrival into F1, and question marks remaining over the involvement of Porsche and Honda.
RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key topics from the Belgium Grand Prix.