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Helmut Marko

Red Bull deliver ominous warning as Hamilton threat dismissed

Red Bull is yet to show its full potential, according to its advisor Dr. Helmut Marko.

Verstappen Marko Spain
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To news overview © XPBimages

Red Bull advisor Dr. Helmut Marko has fired an ominous warning to its rivals following Friday at the Spanish Grand Prix, and has also dismissed Lewis Hamilton as a serious threat.

Lewis Hamilton was the quickest driver on Friday whilst Max Verstappen could only set the fifth-fastest time on the opening day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya; however, the reigning world champion still looked very threatening. 

Compared to recent races, it was a significantly better first and second practice for the Dutchman, who showed positive form across a hot lap and in his long runs. 

The 26-year-old was under three tenths of a second slower than Hamilton's leading pace, with Marko revealing that Red Bull is yet to truly unleash its power unit. 

This was visible on comparison maps, as Verstappen was consistently the fastest through every corner but not along the straights. 

"We are not as bad as it seems," Marko told Motorsport-Magazin.com. In terms of long runs we are there, but over a lap we haven't found the balance yet. Unlike others, we have not driven at full power yet.

"With Max we are on the right track and on Sunday the grip on the track will change significantly. So you have to have a car that performs on Sunday. 

"Max has already tried that, but we haven't been able to find the right balance. We are not as far off this Friday in terms of setup as we have been in recent weekends, and therein lies my optimism. We don't need harakiri actions, we can build on something relatively deep. 

"For example, we should have changed the rear wing for Max, because the balance would have been better." 

Marko fires Hamilton shot

Verstappen was not completely happy with the front of his RB20 throughout Friday. 

Marko recognises this and the fact McLaren and Hamilton looked strong, although did make a dig towards the seven-time world champion.

"The car has no bite at the front, while Max likes that," said Marko. "I still see McLaren as an opponent. Lewis Hamilton had a very good lap, but we've seen that before. Then in qualifying it disappoints again."

Whilst Verstappen looked threatening despite only being in fifth, Sergio Perez once again delivered an underwhelming performance. 

The Mexican driver could only salvage P13 in second practice, with Marko noting that his one-second deficit to Hamilton needs investigating. 

"We made changes there as well and especially the gap in the morning, of about four tenths, was still okay," continued Marko. 

"That's also attributable to Verstappen, but now it's just a second and so we have to see where that lies."

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