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Red Bull reveal Mercedes "contender" concern

Red Bull reveal Mercedes "contender" concern

Red Bull reveal Mercedes "contender" concern

Red Bull reveal Mercedes "contender" concern

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has expressed concern at Mercedes' return to form and is convinced the team remains "a contender" in this year's F1 title race.

A deficit of 122 points between the two teams in the constructors' standings would appear to paint a different picture as the difference in aerodynamic philosophy for the start of F1's new era this year has led to wildly contrasting fortunes.

Slowly but surely, Mercedes is dragging itself back into the equation, with Hamilton scoring a trio of third-place finishes at the last three races in Canada, Silverstone and Austria.

The last event, in particular, was telling as Hamilton and team-mate George Russell were in the hunt for pole position - at a circuit that has never suited the team over the years - until both were involved in accidents in Q3.

The upsurge means Hamilton goes into this weekend's French Grand Prix as the third favourite behind championship leader Max Verstappen and second-placed Charles Leclerc at a Paul Ricard Circuit that is expected to suit the W13.

Assessing Mercedes' chances at a smooth track now the car is no longer porpoising as violently as at past venues, Horner said: “I would expect them to be quick in Ricard.

"They’re showing flashes of being there or thereabouts. The last two races [British and Austrian GPs] have been pretty decent for them.

"There has been no sign, I think, of any porpoising at all. They seem to be slowly bringing themselves back into the game.”

Mercedes a thorn in the side of Red Bull and Ferrari?

Over the first half of the season - with 11 races completed and 11 to go - the title fight to date has strictly been between Red Bull and Ferrari.

Mercedes is threatening to be in a position where it could prove a thorn in the side of either team's championship hopes.

Horner, though, is far from ruling out the reigning eight-time constructors' champions.

"I think they will be a contender," said Horner. "They keep consistently scoring points.

"I’m not sure how far off they are in the constructors’ or drivers’ [championships] at the moment but sometimes to have more cars in play is a good thing, sometimes it might be a bad thing.

“But for the fans, it’s great to have six cars competing for victories.”

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