Red Bull has no doubts of Mercedes F1 fightback

Red Bull and its engine partner Honda are bracing themselves for a Mercedes fightback after two difficult race weekends for the Formula 1 world champion team.

Red Bull has no doubts of Mercedes F1 fightback

Lacklustre performances from Mercedes in Monaco and Baku has allowed Red Bull to take the lead of both the drivers' and constructors' championship battles.

But despite Red Bull having been the pace-setters recently, it is under no illusions about the strengths of the Mercedes team, plus it is aware about the return to more traditional race tracks rather than street circuits will be a help.

Honda's F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe said the Japanese engine manufacturer was remaining with its feet on the ground, despite its early season success.

"Mercedes is not a silent team," he said. "Of course, I think they will come back. The [Baku] results are good, but that doesn't mean we're going to be good at coming races."

Read Also:

Max Verstappen currently holds a four-point lead over Lewis Hamilton in the drivers' standings, having had an opportunity to extend his advantage in Baku wiped away by a late tyre failure.

He knows that the next races at Paul Ricard and the Red Bull Ring could be especially good for Mercedes.

"I think Mercedes is stronger at normal circuits, that's why I would have liked to get a bit more margin [in Baku]," he told Ziggo Sport TV.

"We know they'll be strong at the normal circuits. But we'll see. We've had to positive weekends because the car was really strong in the race.

"I don't think anyone had a chance to threaten us during the race, so that's a positive sign."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner is equally intrigued to see just how F1's return to regular race circuits affects the battle between his team and Mercedes.

"Now we start going back to more classic circuits, that's going to be interesting to see," he said. "But it's very much game on."

One aspect that Verstappen is especially happy about though is the fact that Red Bull appears to be gaining strength over the season, having had the potential for a 1-2 finish in Baku.

Allied to the progress Honda has made, the Dutchman says there are very positive signs.

"I think so far this year, Honda made a good step forward," he said. "I think we're very close in performance. Sometimes it can also be difficult to say with wing levels or whatever, but I think overall we are getting closer and closer.

"It's not only about engine power, it's about a lot of different things where you have to be good at with the engine. But yeah, we are getting better and better all the time which is of course great to see."

Additional reporting by Ken Tanaka and Mark Bremer

shares
comments

Related video

French GP date change was a “big challenge”, says Boullier
Previous article

French GP date change was a “big challenge”, says Boullier

Next article

Why Red Bull reject Kvyat believes he deserves another F1 chance

Why Red Bull reject Kvyat believes he deserves another F1 chance
Load comments
How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison Prime

How getting sacked from Benetton made Mercedes' Allison

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells Stuart Codling about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him.

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Prime

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as Ben Anderson discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren Prime

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver for McLaren

From being lapped by his own teammate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Prime

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing wind tunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher Prime

The invisible enemy that's made Hamilton's title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles as a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay Prime

Why F1's inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax Prime

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021's title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Qatar Grand Prix driver ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021