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Helmut Marko

Marko addresses Red Bull's tame practice pace

Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko has explained why Red Bull's lap times left it well off the session-topping pace during practice in Bahrain.

Verstappen Bahrain 2024
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Helmut Marko has brushed off concerns that Red Bull is on the backfoot after free practice in Bahrain.

Max Verstappen ended both practice outings in sixth place with Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton jumping to the top of the timesheet in FP2, half a second ahead of Verstappen.

Red Bull enters the year as the strong favourites following its dominant campaign last season which saw it win 21 out of the 22 Grands Prix staged.

Verstappen appeared to be uncomfortable behind the wheel and was heard complaining about gear shifts at the end of FP2.

Speaking to media including RacingNews365, Marko stated that Red Bull is still very much in the running.

"The long run was very good, but of course, the temperature was five to six degrees lower than during the test," Marko said.

“The practice sessions were not as relaxed as the winter tests, but we are still confident. The shifting is a bit stiff, although that's actually a common complaint with Max.”

Marko explains deficit

With its lacklustre lap times in contrast to the competition on Thursday leaving some wondering if Red Bull is playing catch up, Marko has stated that it is not the case.

"I don't believe so,” he said when asked if another team is now the favourite for the weekend.

“I don't think Mercedes' times are completely representative. Ferrari will be very strong in the race and qualifying. But I think in terms of race pace we are still the fastest team."

Marko expanded on why the lap times were not representative: “There is more wind.

“The question is whether we might be more sensitive to wind now that we have a very efficient car in terms of aerodynamics.

“But as I said, the first day, we are figuring things out. You adjust when it's six degrees colder and the wind came in gusts. That obviously makes the whole thing more difficult."

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