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Marko: Perez ‘threw away’ pole chance in qualifying

Helmut Marko believes that Sergio Perez should be starting the Belgian Grand Prix from pole position after missing out to Carlos Sainz by two-tenths of a second.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen topped the qualifying session, but will start the race from P15 after taking power unit component penalties.

Pole position for the race will instead go to Ferrari driver Sainz, with the second Red Bull of Perez starting in second place.

Perez’s deficit to Verstappen was around eight-tenths of a second, and Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko reckons the gap should have been less.

“We have a much higher top speed, but Checo threw it away in sector two. In sector one he was clearly faster, despite Ferrari’s slipstream,” Marko told Servus TV.

“He can definitely win. We expected Mercedes to be better here, while Ferrari is of a similar level to us as usual.”

Marko: Verstappen is in supreme form

On the opposite side of the Red Bull garage, Verstappen was in fine form, and set the fastest time in qualifying by six-tenths of a second.

The Ferrari drivers conceded that they did not think they could get near to the Dutchman’s time, and Marko was also full of praise for the reigning World Champion.

“That was an incredible lap! Nowhere did you see any uncertainty,” added Marko.

“We didn’t even need a second run, so we have two new sets of Soft tyres for the race! The Soft tyres can in fact be decisive during the Grand Prix in the event of a Safety Car.”

When asked where Verstappen could finish in the Belgian GP, Marko thinks the Red Bull driver could be an outsider for victory.

“When you see how much faster Verstappen is, it won’t take long [to be in contention]. Moreover, experience shows that we are even stronger with a full tank of fuel,” he said.

“Max is in great form, supreme and has a lot of self-confidence. It’s going to be very difficult for the rest.”

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