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Helmut Marko

Marko's theory behind Leclerc's impressive Australian Friday performance

Charles Leclerc topped Friday practice for the Australian Grand Prix, nearly four-tenths clear of Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Leclerc Australia
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Helmut Marko believes the gap between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen in Australian Grand Prix practice is down to the use of engine modes.

Leclerc topped the second session in Melbourne with a 1:17.277s lap during the qualifying simulation runs, with Verstappen second on a 1:17.658s after missing the start of the session.

This was down to Red Bull needing to replace the floor on his RB20 following damage sustained in FP1, which was headed by Lando Norris.

Whilst Red Bull's motorsport advisor Marko conceded that Red Bull still had set-up work to complete on the car, he felt the 0.381s gap between Leclerc and Verstappen had a simple explanation.

"I think Ferrari used full power in the qualifying simulation, we did not," Marko told Sky Germany of the near four-tenth gap between Leclerc and Verstappen.

"That's why I don't see the gap as critical - but the long run by Leclerc was very impressive.

"Our set-up is not yet right, but the car is not bad, [although] Leclerc set a pace that means we still need to fine-tune.

"In general, you have to say that the field is moving closer together."

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