Max Verstappen’s dominance of Formula 1 is hitting new heights in Canada.
That is the view of Red Bull top official Dr Helmut Marko, who is delighted that the Dutch racer looks set to further extend his 34 point lead over Charles Leclerc on Sunday.
Leclerc, one of many Ferrari-powered drivers suddenly down on straightline speed amid the Italian marque’s engine reliability dramas, will start from the back as another new power unit is fitted.
“We know that when we have solved those problems, we will fight for the championship with Red Bull Racing,” Leclerc said.
“I have faith in this team because they are giving 200 percent as always and I am sure that if we solve our problems we can overtake them.”
Formula 1 was stunned by Fernando Alonso’s shock P2 on the slippery Montreal track in qualifying, but the gap between the Alpine and Red Bull is over 6 tenths.
“I’ve never experienced anything like this,” Marko told Austrian television ORF.
“It was a great demonstration of our strength. At times Max was even up to a second faster, without any hesitancy. It’s an impressive achievement from him,” he insisted.
Marko said no other driver was a genuine candidate for pole in Canada.
“Verstappen was so superior,” he said. “With our speed that we showed on Friday, we will go into the race with relative certainty.”
The fly in the ointment could be feisty 40-year-old Alonso, who is keen to keep his seat at Alpine next year amid the looming threat of Oscar Piastri.
“I think we’ll attack Max in the first corner,” said the Spaniard.
“I think they are in a different league, for sure, but let’s see. I think we’re still missing a little bit of downforce, a little bit of total grip in the car.”
Red Bull’s Marko said he is not worried about a kamikaze move from the former two-time champion.
“Alonso is a fair opponent, so I’m not afraid of the first corner and the first laps,” said the Austrian.
“We’ll see and then adjust the race pace accordingly. We also have to pay attention to tyre wear and the brakes.