Helmut Marko has revealed Ferrari’s impressive pace on both the Hard and Medium tires during the Canadian Grand Prix was a potential threat to Max Verstappen’s chances of winning the race.
According to the astute Red Bull advisor, Verstappen encountered challenges in generating optimal temperatures in the Hard compound during the middle stint of the race. This predicament was primarily attributed to the extensive stretches of straightaways that characteristically cool the tires around the illustrious Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve.
As a result, Red Bull found themselves in a vulnerable position midway through the Grand Prix, allowing the determined duo of Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton to significantly narrow the gap while battling for the coveted second place.
The significance of this situation becomes evident when examining Verstappen’s winning margin, which notably fell short of his previous races. Crossing the finish line a mere 9.5 seconds ahead of Alonso, Verstappen’s triumph was a testament to his exceptional skills but also served as a reminder of the intensified competition that looms on the horizon.
Speaking to ServusTV, Marko revealed: “It wasn’t easy, we had problems with the Hard tyres to get them up to temperature. The race was harder than we thought.”
Experiencing a sense of relief, Marko found solace in the fact that both Ferraris had failed to secure positions within the top five, a stark contrast to the formidable pace they had showcased during Friday’s practice sessions.
Marko had earlier voiced his concerns about Ferrari’s impressive performance, making their absence from the top contenders a welcome development.
“But luckily Ferrari started further back, as they were fastest on both sets of tyres,” said the Austrian.
Amidst his commanding lead in the race, Verstappen encountered not one but two nerve-wracking moments that had the potential for disastrous consequences.
In a heart-stopping incident, a rogue bird collided with Verstappen’s car, wedging itself between the front right brake ducts, teetering on the precipice of a brake failure or an unforeseen pit stop.
Adding to the suspense, Verstappen had a hair-raising encounter as he grazed one of the elevated kerbs at the apex of Turn 9. He skillfully evaded the barriers, narrowly escaping the fate that befell George Russell earlier in the race.
Over the team radio, Verstappen candidly expressed that he had “almost knocked himself out,” a testament to the intense moments he endured.
On the other hand, Marko believes that this incident occurred due to Verstappen’s divided attention, suggesting that his focus may have momentarily wavered.
“Maybe he was looking at the TV screens, he often does that!” exclaimed Marko.”But it’s incredible what kind of overview Max has and what kind of overcapacity he has.”