Marko: 'Perez opts for set-up of Verstappen'

F1 News

Helmut Marko and Max Verstappen and Perez after first day in Barcelona
2 June at 18:13

Max gave a little demonstration during the first free practice, showing his supremacy. Team-mate Sergio Perez also had to suffer in the first session in Barcelona. The Mexican, for now Verstappen's main challenger, had to concede more than seven tenths of a second to his Red Bull Racing teammate.

In second session, the difference between the men from the Austrian team was a lot smaller, although Verstappen was still over three tenths faster. Verstappen ended the session in first place, while Perez got no further than fourth. The Mexican even saw Nico Hulkenberg finish ahead of him. Nevertheless, Perez will be happy that the immense gap between himself and Verstappen was more than halved in the second free practice session.

'Perez not driving consistent times'

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko seemed to hint that Perez had chosen the wrong set-up in the first free practice. "He went the direction of Max," the Austrian told Motorsport Magazin after the last practice session of the day. "He was better, but he didn't manage to drive consistent times. We are looking at whether we changed something more, or move even more in Max's direction." For Perez, Spain is an important Grand Prix. Due to scoring 0 points in Monaco, the gap with Verstappen has increased to 39 points. To keep his championship aspirations alive, a good result - preferably finishing ahead of Verstappen - is necessary in Barcelona.

Incidentally, there was a remarkable moment during the second practice session. While his engineer was saying something, Verstappen heard a phone go off over the board radio. He immediately called out that it was Marko's. "Yes, I had forgotten my phone. He immediately said he was convinced it was mine. He was absolutely right!" Incidentally, it is unknown who exactly was calling Marko.