Red Bull team principal Christian Horner is concerned Mercedes may have "a bit more in hand" after responding to Lewis Hamilton's onboard radio comments about a lack of pace in the Mercedes for this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Red Bull took the lead of the drivers' and constructors' standings at the last race in Monaco and had a considerable advantage on Friday in Baku, setting the top two times as Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas slumped to 11th and 16th respectively.
During the second practice session, Hamilton commented over team radio: "Do whatever we need to do, I'm not going to go any faster. I don't know where all the time is."
In response, Horner quipped: "Let’s hope he’s right. I haven’t followed what they’ve said. Their long-run pace with Hamilton looked decent but short run they didn’t look at their strongest. Whether they’ve got a bit more in hand I don’t know.”
Despite his remarks, Horner remains wary of the threat of the reigning seven-time consecutive champions and added: “It was surprising to see them not up there in the times but I’m sure they will work it out.”
Flexi-wing advantage "overstated"
F1 arrived in Baku with the looming threat of a protest over flexible wings as Mercedes declared its dissatisfaction with the time granted by the FIA for Red Bull, among others, to produce more sturdy designs.
It had been suggested Red Bull could stand to gain as much as six-tenths of a second in lap time along the 2.2km straight but Horner was quick to dismiss these figures.
“It’s overstated," he said. "Half-a-second is being quoted, but you could see our rear wing was arguably flexing less than the Mercedes rear wing so it certainly wasn’t half-a-second of lap time delta."
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