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Red Bull: Mercedes party mode an 'afternoon tea' compared to Ferrari!

Red Bull: Mercedes party mode an 'afternoon tea' compared to Ferrari!

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Red Bull: Mercedes party mode an 'afternoon tea' compared to Ferrari!

Red Bull: Mercedes party mode an 'afternoon tea' compared to Ferrari!

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is confident his team can match the one-lap pace of Mercedes, whose extra qualifying modes have been put in the shade.

Ferrari's straight-line speed has not been in question all year, although a recent upgrade package has vaulted them right to the top of F1's pecking order.

On the back of wins in Belgium, Italy and Singapore, the Scuderia once again look the business in Russia, where Mercedes struggled through practice as they face losing their 100 per cent winning record in Sochi.

Red Bull were F1's dominant force before Mercedes took over at the dawning of the V6 Hybrid era, where huge power gains over their rivals proved key – especially in qualifying.

But with Honda enjoying their union with Honda, and Ferrari excelling in the horsepower stakes, the tables have finally turned on the Silver Arrows.

After seeing Max Verstappen show smart pace compared to the Mercedes ahead of qualifying in Russia, Horner explained that the championship leaders are not the measuring stick for the field in outright power any longer.

He told Sky Sports: "I think their 'party' is more of an afternoon tea now compared to what Ferrari have up their sleeve!

"You can't write them off, look what they’ve done so far this year but Ferrari are definitely the benchmark at the moment."

Charles Leclerc was quickest in two of the three practice sessions in Russia, with Verstappen topping FP2, albeit with a five-place grid penalty hanging over him.

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