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Rival F1 boss WARNS Red Bull over performance gap

Rival F1 boss WARNS Red Bull over performance gap

Rival F1 boss WARNS Red Bull over performance gap

Rival F1 boss WARNS Red Bull over performance gap

A rival of Red Bull has warned that they are closing in on the dominant outfit after an impressive showing in qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Winners of 24 of the last 26 grands prix, the Milton Keynes outfit have been almost untouchable for extended periods over the last two seasons.

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They have relentlessly developed their concept, but the law of diminishing returns (where a car concept only has so much potential), means that their rivals should maintain hope of closing the gap to them.

In fact, the gap in qualifying at Suzuka between Max Verstappen and Lando Norris, who both qualified first and third in 2023 and 2024, closed from six tenths to just two in the space of six months.

Andrea Stella is pleased with McLaren's efforts
Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri work well together at McLaren

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How have McLaren closed the gap to Red Bull?

It’s something that has caught the eye of McLaren team boss Andrea Stella, who is pleased with his team’s recent efforts.

He acknowledges that while the Suzuka circuit suits their car, that they have closed the gap to Red Bull over the last few months.

“Both drivers have been doing well in qualifying. It's a positive qualifying session, not only for the final result but definitely a good position to start the race.

“The lap times themselves, compared to here six months ago, we have reduced the gap substantially to Red Bull and it's still very close with all the cars around us but it's positive we are ahead of them.

“So, we definitely take some positive elements out of this qualifying but at the same time we know Japan suits our car characteristics.”

It will be a tough ask to replicate their double podium from last year’s instalment of the Japanese Grand Prix with Sergio Perez on hot form currently.

But they could have a shot at a double top five finish if their race pace turns out to be as promised during the first four sessions of the weekend.

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Red Bull Max Verstappen Christian Horner Lando Norris Japanese Grand Prix Suzuka
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