Max Verstappen’s car will be investigated by Red Bull after the Dutchman struggled in first practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Red Bull boss Helmut Marko has claimed that the team will look into a strange problem on Verstappen’s car that was noticed in FP1.
Marko told Sky Germany the Dutchman’s car was not running as well as it had been during pre-season testing. This news could have a negative impact on Verstappen’s hopes of securing victory this weekend.
Teammate Sergio Perez topped the timesheets in FP1 with Verstappen only fast enough for P3 with a lap of around seven-tenths. More worryingly for the reigning world champion, Marko admitted that the two drivers were in identical positions during the opening session.
Speaking to German radio, Marko also denied reports that the FIA forced the team to raise the ride heights. There was some speculation that this was requested by the board due to the bumpy nature of the Bahrain circuit.
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“It feels nice and balanced of course and every team of course lost some ground performance but you always try to get that back in some way. So of course you have to find a new balance with the car but it was good.”
Red Bull’s rivals are also convinced Red Bull will continue their dominance into 2023 after the team broke records in 2022. Verstappen’s 15 race wins were the most in a season as the 25-year-old took the title four rounds early. .
Speaking ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix, Mercedes driver George Russell said Red Bull might not be so easy to come by. “But I think it’s definitely fair to say that Red Bull is somewhat in a league of their own this weekend. I think it’s probably going to be a great battle for second place, maybe between Ferrari and Aston Martin,” he explained.
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