‘The air is getting thinner up there’ – Red Bull warned McLaren are ‘absolutely there’

Michelle Foster
Max Verstappen with his head down alone in a press conference

Max Verstappen and Red Bull are under pressure from McLaren

Timo Glock has warned Red Bull that McLaren are “absolutely there”, they just need “one little thing” and they’ll be all over the back of Max Verstappen’s RB20 in a sustained challenge.

Although Red Bull’s RB20 was the car to beat in the early rounds of this year’s championship, with Verstappen winning four of the opening five races, McLaren closed the gap in Miami with their ‘2.0’ MCL38.

Timo Glock: All it takes is one little thing…

The fortuitous timing of a Safety Car put Lando Norris into a straight fight against Verstappen after the restart with the Briton pulling away to win the Miami Grand Prix by seven seconds.

Two weeks later at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix Norris was back at it as he chased down Verstappen in the final 10 laps to put pressure on the Red Bull driver who was struggling with grip as he pushed hard to stay ahead.

Verstappen took the chequered flag by a slim margin of 0.725s.

Glock believes McLaren have proven they’re “absolutely there” with Red Bull, now it is a case of piling pressure on Red Bull and their triple World Champion.

“The air is getting thinner up there,” the Sky pundit said. “Max has to go all in on the race. At the end you could also hear on the radio that the pulse was a little higher. He couldn’t sit back.

“And Lando Norris confidently said that they are there now and want to fight for the race win.

“All it takes is one little thing and then they can really put him under pressure for the whole race. McLaren are absolutely there and can put Max Verstappen and Red Bull under pressure.”

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A near-miss for Norris but could he have overtaken Verstappen?

Although Norris rued his near-miss having closed to within DRS range in the final few laps of the Grand Prix, Glock has questioned whether the McLaren driver would have had the pace to overtake.

As his team-mate Oscar Piastri showed during his tussle with Carlos Sainz, it is easier to catch than it is to pass.

“Lando Norris had to push, you could see it on the onboard, there were always obstacles,” Glock said. “The question is: if he had gotten his turn, would he have had the chance?

“We saw it with Oscar Piastri, who was close and had better speed than Carlos Sainz, but didn’t have the opportunity to overtake in Turn One even with the DRS effect. That would have been difficult for Lando Norris.

“But he knew that Max Verstappen couldn’t make any mistakes with the track limits. That’s why he pressed like that, to push him into a mistake like that.

“Then Max Verstappen would have added another five seconds and Lando Norris would have had the chance to win the race. But Max Verstappen managed it again confidently.”

The Dutchman’s victory saw him race out to 161 points in the Drivers’ Championship where he is 48 ahead of Charles Leclerc. Norris in fourth place is a further 12 points off the pace.

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