(Motorsport-Total.com) – Max Verstappen was 0.293 seconds short of Valtteri Bottas’ pole position in qualifying for the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring (follow Formula 1 2020 in the live ticker!). And with that, Red Bull sports director Helmut Marko is satisfied. On ‘Sky’ he said: “I think we are one step closer to Mercedes again.”
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This is also due to various new parts on the Red Bull RB16, says Marko. However: “We missed the Friday sessions for fine-tuning.” In other words: Red Bull actually wanted to test the update in detail and, given the cancellation of Friday training, had significantly less time for it than planned.
“Originally,” says Alexander Albon at ‘Sky’, we wanted to run a comparison test with the old against the new package. We have just started with that now. “
Why Albon has a new chassis
Albon explains that it is mostly “small things” and not one big change. But the changes were probably big enough to make a chassis change necessary. Albon immediately puts that into perspective: “There were a few things that could be done more easily with a new monocoque.”
And the first impressions are positive. “The car feels good, and fast, pretty strong,” says Albon. “I’m happy with it and consider it a good step forward. At least it brings us closer to the Mercedes.”
Photo gallery: Formula 1 technology: detailed photos at the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix at the Nürburgring
Or is the impression wrong and Red Bull has not made any gains, but Mercedes has lost some time? Albon is undecided and says: “I wouldn’t say that Mercedes had problems, but they don’t seem to be as fast as usual.” Which could be related to the cooler conditions at the Eifel Grand Prix.
“Cold start” for Red Bull at the Nürburgring
Even Marko admits: his team had a “cold start” into the weekend. “In the first practice session there were big problems with the soft tire, but we’re slowly sorting out, getting closer, and I think tomorrow’s race will be a lot tighter.”
It didn’t look like that on Saturday morning. With Verstappen more than six tenths behind, Red Bull had “failed to make a sensible lap”. “It was fine now [im Qualifying] better, “says Marko,” but we have no continuity in our tire performance. “
The only thing “interesting” is that “after they saw that we were going into qualifying with the soft tires, Mercedes changed their strategy. Somehow that honors us,” says Marko.
Marko is hoping for a good start
The only question that remains to be answered is how good the Red Bull chances are in the race. With practically no long runs in free practice, this is difficult to predict. Marko is therefore primarily thinking about the start, which Verstappen tackles in third place on the ideal line.
“I think P3 is almost better than P2. If we look: It’s a relatively long straight with a very tight curve,” said the Red Bull sports director. “We have [aber] the Leclerc in there too. Let’s hope it goes well. “