Helmut Marko has downplayed the gap between Red Bull and Ferrari after qualifying for the French Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc took pole position for the event, setting a time that was 0.304 seconds clear of Max Verstappen in second.
However, Leclerc admitted afterwards that he had benefitted from teammate Carlos Sainz – who will start the race from the back of the grid after taking engine penalties – giving him a tow during the decisive Q3 runs.
Marko confident in Red Bull’s race pace
Despite losing out to Leclerc in qualifying, Marko believes that Red Bull have reason to be optimistic for the race.
“We trust in our race pace,” Marko told Sky Deutschland.
“In terms of tyres, we have the option to choose between a one-stop or a two-stop.”
Marko does not believe that the three tenths of a second gap between Leclerc and Verstappen is representative of the true balance of power, given the impact of Sainz’s tow.
“It was always a tenth and a half or two tenths that they gained there,” the Austrian added.
“So the gap is not as drastic as it seems.”
Where Red Bull may have the edge on Ferrari
With Verstappen and teammate Sergio Perez lining up in second and third, the pair are in a position to attempt to attack Leclerc ahead.
Marko admits that the fact that Leclerc will not have the backing of Sainz nearby could play into Red Bull’s hands.
“From that point of view it’s a good starting position,” he conceded.
Verstappen currently holds a 38-point advantage over Leclerc in the Drivers’ standings, while Red Bull are ahead of Ferrari by 56 points in the Constructors’ Championship.