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Helmut Marko

Marko perplexed by 'unimaginable' Verstappen performance

Verstappen claimed pole by over half a second to Norris in front of his home crowd.

Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko was left surprised by Max Verstappen's "unimaginable" pole lap during Dutch Grand Prix qualifying.

Verstappen's best lap was 0.537s faster than nearest challenger Lando Norris, who showed a threatening one-lap pace throughout the weekend for McLaren.

It means the F1 championship leader starts from the front in his quest for a record ninth race victory in a row in front of his time crowd at Zandvoort.

"It is unimaginable here on this short circuit that Verstappen has a six-tenth lead," Marko told Sky Sports

'We thought it would be a hundredth or a tenth of a second, but both the timing and approach were agreed between Max and his engineer.'

"Just a warm-up lap then set a timed lap, another small change to the front wing here, but we left the tyre pressure as it was.

"In all situations, Verstappen just showed that he really had everything under control."

Marko explains Perez deficit

By contrast Sergio Perez was 1.7s off the pace and will start from seventh on the grid, behind the Williams of Alex Albon who qualified in fourth place.

Many drivers chose to run slick tyres in Q3 once the track dried out from the rain, causing a few incidents and stoppages in the tricky conditions.

Charles Leclerc brought out a late red flag with just over two minutes left on the clock, which affected the run plans in the dying moments of the pole shootout.

"There was intensive conversations with our simulation people. We had a large margin and everything was structured," said Marko.

"From Max's side, it was a clear decision to do a run right after one warm-up. With Checo, they drove a second warm-up lap, but that wasn't the right decision."

F1 2023 Dutch Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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