Max Verstappen and Red Bull Wary of New Threat in Spain Despite … – The Sportsrush

3 minutes, 10 seconds Read

Somin Bhattacharjee
|Published June 03, 2023
Credits: IMAGO / HochZwei
Max Verstappen has been clear of all drivers this season in terms of performance. Behind the wheels of a dominant RB19, Verstappen has won four races so far and despite Ferrari and Mercedes’ best attempts, they haven’t been able to catch him. According to Motorsport Total, however, team chief Helmut Marko is now predicting the entry of another team at the front of the grid.
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Over the winter break, Red Bull developed a virtually unstoppable car. The team that has been closest to them in terms of performance so far has been Aston Martin, and Fernando Alonso’s brilliance gives fans hope that they can take some points off Verstappen. However, the gap is simply too big. Often, Marko and team principal Christian Horner have said how it is surprising that no team is able to challenge them at the front.
Friday’s practice session in Spain, however, gave Marko hope that there will be another team joining the battle at the front this weekend. The team he was talking about is Alpine, who has shown great progress in recent weeks.
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Even though Red Bull will be wary of the threat Alpine could eventually possess, Marko remains confident of their own abilities for now. Plus, the 79-year-old feels that having Alpine be a part of the battle at the front is good for them.
“Alpine has taken a step forward,” the 79-year-old. “Good for us if a new third party joins the competition. Mercedes was relatively far backward. Ferrari too – no matter what tires, and the long runs didn’t look that good either.”
Loading embed tweet https://twitter.com/AlpineF1Team/status/1664694638559592449?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Marko’s comments on Alpine came after FP1 where Esteban Ocon surprised many by putting his car up in P3. Only Verstappen and Sergio Perez were ahead of the Frenchman. The Mercedes and Ferrari drivers meanwhile, were far behind.
George Russell and Lewis Hamilton finished P10 and P12 respectively. On the other hand, the Ferrari duo of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz ended their morning in eighth and ninth respectively.
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Coming into the weekend, Max Verstappen was always going to be the favorite to win the race. However, his pace on Friday was so staggering that his teammate Perez, who finished P2 in FP1, was closer to Russell on P10 than he was to Verstappen.
Verstappen followed up his dominant Fp1 performance with a similar FP2 showing. This time, however, there was another two-time world champion breathing down his neck. Hometown hero Fernando Alonso finished close behind him with the gap being just +0.170 seconds. Ocon and Alpine, meanwhile, continued their strong pace once again with a fifth place finish in the final chart.
Loading embed tweet https://twitter.com/redbullracing/status/1664664552317898759?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
If Alpine can carry forward their strong pace into the race, it should certainly make things more exciting at the front of the grid. The Enstone-based outfit is in a good place currently, especially after Ocon’s brilliant P3 finish in Monaco last week. For Marko and Max Verstappen, it is potentially a good thing, because they can dock points off their rivals, to help Red Bull extend their lead at the summit.
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About the author
Somin Bhattacharjee
Somin Bhattacharjee is an F1 writer at The SportsRush. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and aims to work in the sports industry for the rest of his life. Somin has been a fan of Scuderia Ferrari since 2010 and his favorite driver is none another than the great Fernando Alonso. Other than longing for a Ferrari Championship win once again, Somin spends his free time playing football and basketball.
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Copyright: © RU Sport Private Limited. All rights reserved.
Copyright: © RU Sport Private Limited. All rights reserved.

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