Verstappen could lap entire field in Spain - report
"Max is driving on his own planet"
Max Verstappen looks set to utterly dominate this weekend’s Spanish GP.
Ferrari has newly-shaped sidepods and various other developments in Barcelona, Mercedes is again running its ’B’ car, and even Aston Martin has new front and rear wings.
And yet championship leader Verstappen’s Red Bull was easily fastest in P1 on Friday, with the gap then shrinking to just under 2 tenths in the afternoon.
"Fuel-adjusted, Ferrari, Aston Martin and we are very close together in the race simulation. Alpine is a little behind that," a Mercedes source said.
"And Max is driving on his own planet."
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport even speculates that reigning back-to-back world champion Verstappen could lap the entire field on Sunday - including his teammate Sergio Perez.
"I felt comfortable," the 25-year-old told Sky Italia after Friday’s proceedings.
"I didn’t look at what times the others did - I don’t need to."
Indeed, Red Bull’s Dr Helmut Marko said the team’s confidence is higher this weekend than it has been at any other point in the season so far.
"On his best lap, Max made a small mistake and in the last sector he ran out of battery power," he said. "Otherwise he would be further ahead."
As for what race strategy Verstappen will run for the Spanish GP, Marko added: "We have the ability to adapt our strategy to the others."
However, he says Red Bull isn’t claiming all the credit for the situation, explaining that while Friday was a better day for Perez compared to Monaco, "he was not able to set consistent laptimes".
"Yes, we have a very good car," said Marko. "But we also have Verstappen, a talent of the century. His tyre management is outstanding. He drives the fastest laps and still protects his tyres better than the others."