Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes the team will have to be on top of its game in “every area” if it is to stand a chance of beating Mercedes to the title this season.
The title challenger has taken two hits from Lewis Hamilton in three races so far, despite starting the season as favourites to finally take the title away from seven-time champions Mercedes.
Although the season remains in its infancy, Horner said: “They’re a phenomenal team, you don’t win seven consecutive world titles by mistake. We’ve got to be on top of our game in every area to beat a team like that.
“We’re starting to get a picture of our strengths and weaknesses. What we can see across every session is that it’s incredibly tight. The biggest winner from that is Formula One and if it goes like that for 23 races it’s going to be nip and tuck.”
Mercedes secured a front-row lock-out for last Sunday’s Portuguese Grand Prix and Hamilton out-paced Red Bull’s Max Verstappen to claim his second victory of the season, putting himself eight points clear in the title race.
However, Verstappen was able to get past Valtteri Bottas to claim second place, assuring himself of his best-ever start to a world championship campaign, and Horner believes the season will be down to how each team develops its car.
The pair will be back fighting again in Barcelona next weekend and Horner said: “You can see Mercedes and Red Bull are the two standout teams and Lewis and Max are the two stand out drivers.
“I think leaving here we’ve had decent performance at a track where we finished 30 seconds behind last year. To have split the Mercedes at a circuit like this actually bodes really well for us.
“Starting third, finishing second, Max did a great job. Generally, it’s all about marginal gains and it’s very tight between ourselves and Mercedes which is very encouraging.
“I think it’s just going to be really tight in the development race between the two teams over the course of the year.”
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