Alpine and Ferrari: more than a second separates them from victory

"The rest are too far behind. For example, McLaren is a second away," says Helmut Marko on whether any team, beyond Mercedes and Red Bull, can win.


"The rest are too far behind to fight for victory. For example, McLaren is one second short." This has been the sincere answer that Helmut Marko has given in an interview in 'Sport 24 Auto' about whether any rival, beyond Mercedes, has enough speed to fight for the Formula 1 World Championship against energetic cars, once analyzed the data from the 2021 Bahrain GP at the Milton Keynes factory.

A thesis that is based on the 46 seconds that passed since Lewis Hamilton finished the race in the Persian Gulf until Lando Norris saw the final checkered flag on the finish line at Sakhir. An indentation close to eight tenths per lap, which in the case of Ferrari is greater than a second if we take as a reference the 59 seconds it took Charles Leclerc to finish the Asian test and perform the same calculation that we have done previously with the Woking team. A disadvantage that is even greater in the Alpine situation, since Esteban Ocon was one of the five drivers dubbed in the city of Manama, that Liberty Media and the FIA want to minimize with the new technical regulations that will come into force next season.

Similarly, the Red Bull sports advisor acknowledges the sublime driving that Hamilton put in to lead the W12 to victory, as well as admitting that perhaps they made the mistake of relaxing after observing the ease with which Max Verstappen achieved pole position: " After taking pole position in qualifying I had the feeling that we can compete for the World Championship again. It was a great relief. But maybe that made us too euphoric. We have to learn from mistakes. If you want to beat Mercedes, you have to be perfect. Because Hamilton, I have to admit, completed a flawless race. He and Verstappen are great. "On the other hand, Marko points out that Honda has not yet found out the reason that caused Sergio Pérez's RB16B to stop in the formation lap: "Sergio Pérez, if he had made a good qualifying, would have intervened in the duel between Hamilton and Verstappen Then, before the race, we had to change the battery and then, on the formation lap, the car stopped. We do not yet know why, but Pérez reacted very well by executing all the procedures to be able to start the car again. ".

"Verstappen would crush Hamilton if he were in Mercedes"

The last authorized voice to comment on the controversy that involved the first date of 2021 has been Nelson Piquet. The three-time champion not only assures in 'Autosport' that Lewis has never had a rival to his height in Brackley, but also affirms that if Max drove a silver arrow he would crush him in each grand prix: "Formula 1 is a category with different cars And so it is difficult to make direct comparisons between drivers if they are not in the same team. Of course, if Max was in Mercedes, I am sure he would crush Hamilton. In my opinion, Max is better than Hamilton. Not that Hamilton is not good, but his current teammate is of a lower level and the previous one was even worse. Rosberg won because it was a year in which Hamilton had accidents and withdrawals. "

Likewise, Piquet underestimates the successes achieved by Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton in the hybrid era: "Max is more aggressive. He can make mistakes more often because of this aggressiveness, but in my opinion he is better than Hamilton. Things are too easy for him. Let Hamilton win it all with Bottas by his side as second driver. It's a bit like Mansell and me at Williams, with the other drivers far behind. I won the 1987 championship and wasn't driving like before because of a series of problems. But I won that one championship, hopefully. I should have won in 1986, but I did it in 1987. But it was so easy. The car was much better than the others. And Mercedes is much better than the others for the last few years. "

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