Max Verstappen has issued a stark warning that Red Bull may not be in a position to consistently challenge Mercedes for race wins until next season.
Following a promising pre-season, Red Bull has again failed to deliver at the start of a campaign, leaving Mercedes to romp away with three straight wins and looking almost unbeatable.
At the last race in Hungary, in particular, the team was unable to discover its best route forward as it consistently changed parts and set-up.
Now Verstappen has made clear that a victory push may only be possible on occasion.
"I go into a weekend where I always try to do the best I can," said Verstappen. "Of course, I would like to go into every weekend knowing you are fighting for victories, but at the moment that is not the case.
"We are trying to learn, trying to improve, and hopefully towards the end of the year or next year we can be in that position. Of course, it's not going to be easy.
"They are working very hard at Mercedes as well, but if we can make it difficult for them that would be really nice.
"It's not that I'm going to sit here frustrated or angry about it all. That doesn't mean I don't get a bit upset or whatever because at the end of the day I want to win and I want to improve, and I think everybody in the team has that.
"We all want to win, and I think it's good that we are pushing each other hard. That's nothing negative because if I sat here like I didn't care, or I just rocked up to the track, do my job and go back home, then that would be the wrong attitude."
Verstappen has confirmed a raft of new parts will again be tested ahead of Sunday's British Grand Prix.
"They are different parts to see what works, what doesn't and where we can still improve," added Verstappen. "It's not from one week to the other that it is going to be solved. We need a bit more time for that.
"But we're working on it and we'll just find out by trying it on track as well, to know if we're heading in the right direction.”
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