Red Bull unshaken: The real reasons behind Melbourne setback

Despite Carlos Sainz clinching victory at the Australian Grand Prix, there remains skepticism about Ferrari’s ability to consistently challenge Red Bull’s supremacy in the season ahead. Sainz acknowledges his Ferrari showed promise in Melbourne; however, he concedes a notable disparity with Red Bull, emphasizing, “It’s going to be tough to keep it up there in every track until we bring an upgrade to close that gap that we saw in Bahrain and Jeddah.”

The peculiar challenges Red Bull faced in Melbourne, highlighted by Max Verstappen’s technical mishap — his first in two years — seem confined to Albert Park’s unique demands. McLaren’s team principal Andrea Stella disclosed, “We looked at Max’s tyres after qualifying and they looked pretty damaged,” hinting at the perhaps circuit-specific difficulties encountered by Red Bull.

Dr. Helmut Marko, Red Bull’s top advisor, reflected on the event, noting a substantial pace deficit at certain junctures, with Sergio Perez’s performance underscoring a critical oversight in their Melbourne setup. “At some points we were two seconds slower than the leaders,” Marko explained, suggesting misjudgments in tyre pressure or settings as potential culprits. Christian Horner, the team boss, speculated that an altercation with Fernando Alonso may have compromised Perez’s car, though Perez himself acknowledged a broader issue with pace, attributing it to the circuit’s distinctive asphalt and a failure to optimize grip.

Perez speculated that even Verstappen would have faced difficulties overtaking Ferrari’s Sainz without the unfortunate brake failure and subsequent fire. However, Marko remains undisturbed by the setback, quipping, “It’s nothing special,” and humorously suggesting the defeat was a gift to critics bored by Red Bull’s dominance. He confidently anticipates a return to form in Japan, reminiscing about Verstappen’s prior superiority at Suzuka and teasing forthcoming updates.

“There is no panic from us,” Marko asserted, valuing the championship above all and welcoming the end to inquiries about a perfect season. Ferrari’s team principal, Fred Vasseur, while encouraged by the Melbourne performance, stopped short of declaring parity with Red Bull, highlighting the unpredictable nature of racing and the anticipation of future battles with Verstappen.


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