Sergio Perez is confident Red Bull's “extremely painful” start to the F1 season is over.
After three grands prix, reigning champion Max Verstappen is already 46 points adrift of title pacesetter Charles Leclerc after suffering retirements in Bahrain and Australia.
Perez also retired from the opening race in Bahrain due to a fuel pressure issue, but looking ahead he said: “What gives us hope is all the issues and reliability problems we have had, we have understood them and we were able to fix them.
“So from now, hopefully there are no more surprises. Something unexpected can happen still but we feel like we are on top of them.”
Red Bull fought hard last year to finally wrestle the drivers' title from Mercedes but it is Ferrari in the ascendancy following a change in the regulations that has shuffled the order this season.
The costly retirements, though, have left Red Bull 10 points behind Mercedes and 49 behind leaders Ferrari in the constructors' standings.
Perez added: “[It is] Critical for us as a team to make sure we are able to collect the points we are able to get weekend by weekend because so far it has been extremely painful.”
With Ferrari and Leclerc winning two of the first three races and proving dominant at the last race in Australia, Red Bull is playing catch up.
Perez, though, feels Red Bull is "close", although added: "Certainly in Melbourne they were probably two steps ahead, especially on race day they were very strong. I think our deg was quite high come race day.
“We will see what we are able to do this weekend. I think as the season progresses the teams will get closer."