Red Bull ‘clearly third’

Date published: March 28 2017

Christian Horner reckons if Red Bull can make up about half a second per lap, they will be up there with Mercedes.

Sunday’s season-opener in Australia saw Ferrari claim their first victory since 2015, beating the Mercedes pairing to the chequered flag.

Red Bull only managed to get one car, Max Verstappen’s, to the finish line after a wretched home race weekend for Daniel Ricciardo ended in retirement.

Verstappen was fifth on the day almost half a minute behind race winner Sebastian Vettel.

But while Horner concedes Ferrari have the strongest car at the start of the campaign, he believes Red Bull can cut their deficit to Mercedes within the next month.

“Our car is clearly third, but in the next two races, we intend to reduce the gap,” he said..

“Mercedes weren’t that far away – I think probably half a second.

“Ferrari have been very impressive here and probably had the quickest car.

“We definitely had the third quickest car here and we’ve got to find a good half a second to get into that fight with the cars ahead.”

The team boss was quick to refute suggestions that Red Bull’s form had been hurt over the Australian GP by the banning of their trick suspension.

“I don’t believe so,” he said.

“The suspension system that was outlawed was something that we looked to develop over the winter.

“And, to be honest with you, even if we had the ability to run it, it wouldn’t earn a place on the car because of the weight involved.

“We are running effectively as we’ve run in previous seasons.”