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Helmut Marko

Red Bull not fearing Verstappen penalty after qualifying incident

Red Bull have brushed off any talk of a grid penalty for Max Verstappen after he set his fastest qualifying lap at Imola under yellow flags.

Verstappen Imola rain
To news overview © XPB

Max Verstappen has nothing to fear after an incident during qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, according to Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko.

Verstappen's pole position lap in a rain-hit session at Imola came when yellow flags were being waved for Valtteri Bottas' stricken Alfa Romeo.

As per the regulations, drivers are required to reduce their speed in such a scenario, which television footage suggested Verstappen did.

"He lifted. He clearly lifted," Marko told Sky Sport Germany, when asked for his take.

"[Verstappen's] was only the third-fastest time of the session in the third sector, so nothing can come of that."

Red Bull and Ferrari closely matched at Imola

Verstappen's pole position is his first of the 2022 season, having gone head-to-head with Ferrari rival Charles Leclerc since the opening round.

With the threat of a penalty seemingly non-existent, team boss Christian Horner is determined to convert pole into Sprint victory and, ultimately, the Grand Prix win.

But he is well aware of the challenge Ferrari are likely to pose, regardless of the weather conditions.

"I think if you look at the relative pace of our car, I think we're very quick in Sector 1, they're [Ferrari] pretty quick in Sector 2, and then Sector 3 is reasonably even," Horner told Sky Sports.

"We've got to get a good start, we've got to convert it and then go from there."

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