Red Bull say 'real pressure' led to Ferrari 'mistakes' in Imola but Max Verstappen sympathises with Charles Leclerc
Red Bull have their say on contrasting weekends for themselves and Ferrari as Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez break one-two drought while Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz both crash at the Emilia Romagna GP
Last Updated: 27/04/22 10:48am
Red Bull have upped the ante in their title fight with Ferrari by suggesting Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz made Emilia Romagna GP mistakes because of the "real pressure" they were under as a result of the 2022 battle.
Ferrari came into the weekend as favourites after their dominant Australian GP and things appeared to be going to plan early on Friday before losing out to main rivals Red Bull in qualifying, the Sprint and the race.
Both their drivers also had costly crashes, with Leclerc dropping from third to sixth after a late Sunday shunt while Sainz spun out of qualifying and saw his Grand Prix ended on the very first lap with a collision.
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It was contrastingly a perfect weekend for Red Bull, who took their first one-two since 2016 after bringing upgrades to Imola.
Asked if he thought Ferrari could beat Red Bull in a development battle, team advisor Helmut Marko told Sky Sports News on Sunday: "I don't think so.
"And what we saw was if we put real pressure on, they are making mistakes.
"You could see it... Leclerc spun in Friday twice, Sainz spun today, Leclerc again."
He added: "But it's a very sportive and friendly competition between Ferrari and us."
Red Bull boss Christian Horner had more sympathy for Ferrari, stating on championship leader Leclerc's crash from third: "Charles has driven brilliantly this year.
"You can see he was being very aggressive at that chicane all the way through the race and he was trying to get into Checo [Perez's] DRS. Unfortunately it bit him and he was lucky not to damage the car more."
Verstappen also sympathises with title rival Leclerc
Max Verstappen won Sunday's race and is now 27 points behind Leclerc in the standings.
"[Without his DNFs] he would be easily ahead," added Marko. "But there are so many races coming the important thing is we know we have such a strong package so the championship will be very exciting.
"Hopefully it doesn't go to the last race like last year!"
Leclerc was hard on himself after his crash while chasing down Perez, insisting he cannot make those kinds of errors and fearing the seven points lost could come back to bite him in the championship.
Verstappen stuck up for his main 2022 rival, though.
"It's easily done," said the reigning world champion. "Of course, he was pushing hard to try and fight Checo but… it is painful but I think he knows that himself, you know,
"But it's still such a long championship. You can still gain a lot of points. But yeah, it's not great. But you can't change it now. I mean, he doesn't do it on purpose."