Helmut Marko has warned Ferrari not to get carried away with Carlos Sainz’s pole position for the Italian Grand Prix, after all, Red Bull set up Max Verstappen’s car for the race, not qualifying.
Sainz grabbed his first pole position of this season at the Monza circuit on Saturday with his 1:20.294 putting him 0.013s up on championship leader Verstappen.
Charles Leclerc added to Ferrari’s joy with a P3 on the day, the Monégasque driver’s grid position opening the door for a two-pronged attack on Verstappen as Ferrari look to stop the Dutchman from securing a record-breaking 10th win on the trot.
Red Bull ‘will be stronger in the race’ declares Helmut Marko
Marko has warned the home favourites that it won’t be easy as he expects Verstappen will be “stronger” in the grand prix.
“We have geared our set-up more towards the race anyway,” he told Sky Deutschland.
“I do believe that we will be stronger in the race, and we have already won from worse starting positions. That’s why we’re optimistic.”
Verstappen has already won one grand prix from ninth on the grid this season having done so in Miami while in the two previous races that Ferrari started from pole, Charles Leclerc P1 in Baku and in Spa when Verstappen was penalised, it was the Dutchman who claimed the race wins.
Marko reiterated his confidence to ORF, saying Red Bull “never really focused on pole position” as they knew Ferrari would have good straight-line speed.
He reckons Red Bull have a “good tactical and strategic advantage” with Verstappen P2 on the grid while his teammate Sergio Perez will line up fifth.
Max Verstappen ‘confident’ for the grand prix
Verstappen is chasing his 12th win of this season and his 10th in a row, which would be a new Formula 1 record with the 25-year-old having matched Sebastian Vettel’s nine last time out in the Netherlands.
He’s “confident” of beating the Ferraris having shown better race pace during Friday’s practices.
“It was not really surprising, they were quick also last year,” Verstappen said of Sainz’s pole position.
“Also, when you look at their rear wing it seems like it’s quite well optimised for Monza, whereas our wing – especially for one lap – is maybe not the best optimisation.
“But the race normally should be better, so nothing too shocking to be honest.”
He added: “You know at Monza it’s always very tight. Sometimes you might jump ahead, sometimes you’re just behind, but I’m confident for tomorrow.”
Verstappen lines up on the Italian Grand Prix grid with a 138-point advantage over his teammate Perez in the Drivers’ standings.