Apr.22 - There's still a long way to go in 2024, but Dr Helmut Marko admits Max Verstappen is essentially on a cruise to his fourth consecutive title.

Indeed, such was the Dutchman's comfort at the front of the pack in Shanghai on Sunday that he said of his Red Bull car: "I could do whatever I wanted with it."

Team advisor Marko agrees: "I think we can start thinking about the world championship again now. Max is one of the greats and he's not even 27.

"Two-stoppers, three-stopper, one-stopper, it was all possible today."

An undisputed "great" Verstappen may be becoming, but the situation doesn't bode well for Formula 1 - according to the man who finished behind Verstappen in China, McLaren's Lando Norris.

"We are seeing more dominance than ever," he said, "so it is never going to be the best to watch and that's obvious.

"You have got one of the best drivers ever in F1, in one of the most dominant cars and it is a combination that is deadly," Norris told The Guardian.

Sergio Perez in the sister Red Bull was third, ahead of the surprisingly off-the-pace Ferraris - who are now pinning their hopes on key car upgrades for Miami and Imola.

Worse still for the Italian team, tension is now creeping into the relationship between Charles Leclerc and the soon-to-depart Carlos Sainz, on top of their run-in in the sprint race.

"I don't want to comment on that," Sainz said, referring to his early wheel-to-wheel with the sister Ferrari on Sunday. "But it's quite obvious that it cost both of us two positions without any benefit."

La Repubblica newspaper observed: "High tension between Leclerc and Sainz - Ferrari is a red shrimp" in China.

Their boss Frederic Vasseur tried to play down both the rising tension and the suddenly less-competitive 2024 Ferrari, blaming limited practice with the hard tyre during the complex sprint weekend format.

Referring to the Sainz-Leclerc clashes, the Frenchman said: "We discussed it yesterday and today and I don't think there is anything else to say."

Charles Leclerc said: "I think the upgrade in Miami should help us - that's what we have to focus on now. It will set the direction we go this season, so it's important we get it right."

Sainz added: "We were very far from Red Bull this weekend, so the updates will be very important for this type of track.

"In places like Australia we are doing relatively well, but Red Bull introduced some upgrades in Japan, and we saw the effect on the track.

"Let's see if what we get now is anything interesting."

Team boss Vasseur continued: "The guys in the factory are pushing like crazy for the next updates."

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One F1 fan comment on “Ferrari's Miami Upgrade Mission: Last Stand Against Verstappen's Rampage?

  1. Jere Jyrälä

    The Ferrari drivers didn't have any tight battle situations in the main race, though, or at least nothing that would've been shown on the world feed.


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