Red Bull team principal Christian Horner still believes Max Verstappen can win this year's Formula 1 title
Verstappen has been enjoying one of his best seasons in F1, scoring five straight podiums after a mechanical retirement in the season opener, although he heads into this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix trailing pacesetter Lewis Hamilton by 37 points
Although Red Bull will likely be at a disadvantage to Mercedes in the two upcoming races at power-heavy circuits Spa and Monza, Horner feels if Verstappen can emerge unscathed from both grands prix then he will firmly be in the hunt.
"We've got some good stuff in the pipeline, and there's still a long way to go in this championship," said Horner on 'Talking Bull', Red Bull's podcast.
"The races are coming thick and fast, but I think that if we can get through the next two that are very much Mercedes territory in Monza and Spa, then there’s a few tracks coming up, a few new circuits as well that it could come back to us,
"We see that as an opportunity later in the championship."
Horner added: "It’s a shame he [Verstappen] got the DNF at the first race. Without that, I think we’d really be 18 points probably closer to Lewis at the moment.
"But it’s been a great run. Max is driving out of his skin at the moment, he’s put in some great Sundays so far.
"We’re just fighting hard to put some performance on the car and hopefully, with the 10 or 11 races that remain we can close the gap."
New tracks like Mugello should suit the RB16 as it relies on downforce, although the gap between Verstappen and Hamilton could have significantly increased by then.
With this season representing the last chance for Verstappen to break Sebastian Vettel's record for becoming the youngest F1 champion, Horner said: "You’re never satisfied with second place.
"Even when you win a race, you try to understand what it is [that made you win]. A week earlier, we won that 70th Anniversary race, and again I was up at 6.30 the following morning thinking ‘Okay, how do we build on this? How do we move forward?’ So your mind is always looking ahead, it’s never looking backwards.
"I think the motivation here is we’ve got the ingredients of something that if we can just unlock some more potential… We’re an outsider for this championship but we’re still in it."
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