Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko believes the pace displayed by Nikita Mazepin for Mercedes in testing proved their dominance.
Mazepin, 20, took over running of the W10 for the second day of the in-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, setting the timing sheets alight as he finished P1 with a 1:15.775.
Mazepin’s career is funded by his billionaire father and the youngster enjoys a private testing deal with the Silver Arrows – his personal training programme reportedly includes 12 days of running on various tracks at the wheel of a 2017-spec W08.
Currently plying his trade in Formula 2 with ART the Russian driver, whose father has been linked with a takeover of the struggling Williams team, covered a marathon 128 laps on Wednesday – but Marko believes his showing only proves further how dominant the W10 is.
Speaking to Auto Bild, he said: “That a second-class Formula 2 driver is fast right off the bat in the Mercedes shows just how superior it is. More superior than ever.
“What surprised me was that Mercedes didn’t even try to hide it and didn’t prevent Mazepin from setting the best time of the day, so the superiority is very clear now.”
The Formula 1 season rolls into Monaco next, and while the streets of Monte Carlo are usually seen as a great leveler, Marko warned to expect Mercedes to be even more dominant than they have been during their five-consecutive one-two’s so far this season.
“Although the Mercedes has the longest wheelbase, their advantage there will be even bigger,” he claimed.
“They’re true traction monsters and that’s the nuts and bolts of Monaco. We’ve found something, but it’s not enough.”
“If Ferrari cannot generate downforce and traction, they’ll probably only finish sixth or seventh in Monaco
“Their weakness was evident in Barcelona’s last sector which is much like Monaco. Their engine is very good but they lack downforce and extreme traction.”