Marko downplays Gasly pace in Bahrain: 'Max would definitely be faster'

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Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko downplayed Pierre Gasly's impressive qualifying at the Bahrain Grand Prix, declaring Max Verstappen would be faster.

The Frenchman continued his strong form from 2020, claiming fifth on the grid for AlphaTauri, within a second of the pole time set by the Dutchman in the Red Bull RB16B.

But while you would think Marko would be praising Gasly for featuring so high up the field in the sister team, instead, it only earned him a negative comparison to Red Bull's golden idol.

“I would say Max would have definitely gained two or three tenths in qualifying, the time of Gasly minus two and a half tenths [in the AlphaTauri],” he told

“But he certainly wouldn’t have been on pole.”

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In the race, an early collision with Daniel Ricciardo ruined Gasly's race.

But the apparent inability to credit the 25-year-old comes amid renewed speculation he could be eyeing Esteban Ocon's seat at Alpine next year.

And it also follows recent comments by Pierre looking back on his failed 12-race stint at Red Bull in 2019.

“From the moment I made my first mistake in a [Red Bull] car, I felt like people there slowly began to turn on me,” he said in his emotional article for The Players' Tribune.

“I had a crash in winter testing, and from that moment on the season never really got going. Then I had a tough first two races with Red Bull and the media just ate me up.

“Anything I said in the press was twisted into an excuse for my form, and nobody really stuck up for me.

Gas Crash 2019GerGP

"The car wasn’t perfect, and I was doing my best to try to improve and learn each week, but like... here’s what I’ll say about it: It was a difficult time for me at Red Bull because I didn’t feel like I was really supported and treated the same way as others there have been," Gasly claimed.

“And for me, that’s something that I just can’t accept. I was working my ass off every day, trying to get results for the team, but I was not being given all the tools I needed to succeed.

"I would try to offer solutions, but my voice wasn’t heard, or it would take weeks to see changes.”

Red Bull have suggested they would reconsider Gasly for 2022, but he isn't sure that moment will come.

“For whatever reason, I was never going to be a fit in that seat - it was just never going to work," he continued.

“I’m not the type of person to start stuff in the media because I am truly grateful to Red Bull for the chance, as well as for everything they’ve done for me in my career. I really am. But I’m allowed to tell my truth.

“So, that’s it. That’s the truth.”