Max Verstappen lost three-tenths of a lap in the race due to differential problems and later they had to reduce engine power due to overheating, Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko revealed. Verstappen was the fastest in all three free practice sessions and won a convincing pole position in the first race of the season, losing in a tense race to Hamilton by just seven-tenths of a second.
The inability to build an advantage big enough in the first track section of the race cost him a loss of lead that he failed to regain by the end of the race, and Marko revealed that the Dutchman had a problem with the differential, just like his teammate Perez.
"At the beginning of the race we had problems with the differential," Marko told formel1.de. "In the first sector, we lost drastically, up to three tenths per round. The same thing was with Perez. Not only did they have less grip, but the rear wheels slipped and the tires got hot.
” “During that phase, we failed to build the advantage we needed to avoid a Mercedes attack by entering boxing earlier. We fell from a 2.5 to 1.7-second advantage. That was the decisive phase of the first section in which we were clearly handicapped.
" “And then we had another problem because we had to reduce engine power because of temperature problems. But Max still managed to close the gap. ”
The Red Bull team is optimistic
Despite Red Bull failing to win the first race of the season, their form at the start of the season is the best in the hybrid era that began in 2014 and the team is optimistic they can challenge Mercedes.
"I think that with the package we have, with a very competitive engine and a chassis that responds well to everything, we can be equal to Mercedes," says Marko. "We know that we can only succeed against Mercedes if everything is as it should be.
Everything must be as it should be. ” "We assume it will be similar later in the season, I hope we can watch the reverse situation on the podium with Max on top." Perez finished his first race for Red Bull in fifth place.
At Red Bull, they look very optimistic and it will be interesting to see if anyone can match Mercedes, which has become too dominant.