Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko remains convinced that Max Verstappen still has a chance of winning this year’s Formula 1 world championship.

After winning four of the opening six races of the delayed 2020 season, Lewis Hamilton has opened up a 37-point advantage over Verstappen, who has claimed the only non-Mercedes victory so far in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Red Bull had high hopes of challenging Mercedes for both world titles this year, but so far the reigning world championship-winning outfit has boasted a clear advantage over its chief rival.

But in an interview with German publication SpeedWeek, Marko asserted that “Verstappen can still become world champion, that's our goal for the season.”

Verstappen ultimately finished 24s behind Hamilton in the Spanish Grand Prix last time out, despite Red Bull holding an apparent tyre management advantage at the previous round at Silverstone. Marko put the deficit in Barcelona down to set-up related issues.

“We were there on Friday with very good long runs on Mercedes’ level,” Marko explained. “But in the race both tyre types overheated on the rear axle, so we had to reduce our speed.

“It was even worse for [Alex] Albon than for Verstappen, because we had gone the wrong way in his setup as well.”

But Marko is confident Red Bull can close the gap at this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, where the team is introducing new parts to improve stability.

“We still have certain disadvantages due to our chassis, which is somewhat unpredictable because data from the wind tunnel is not reflected on the track,” he said.

“But we’re working hard on that. We’re bringing new parts to Belgium again, which should help to improve stability.

“We’re not even at the halfway point of the season now. And at some point the Mercedes winning streak must end.”

And Marko also predicts the Honda-powered squad will benefit from the qualifying engine mode ban which has been postponed until the Italian Grand Prix, adding it will “not only affect qualification, but also the in and out laps and and overtaking."

 

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