Horner: Red Bull raced with Mercedes
28 May 2014 – Red Bull team boss Christian Horner says the recent Monaco Grand Prix marked the first time this season that his squad put up a genuine fight against comfortable championship leaders Mercedes.
After the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, from which Lewis Hamilton was forced to retire with an engine-related problem, the Silver Arrows have embarked on an impressive run of five consecutive 1-2 finishes.
But while Monte-Carlo ultimately yielded the same result, Horner reckons Red Bull was much closer to the pace, with Daniel Ricciardo pushing second-placed Hamilton all the way en route to the final podium position.
"It is the first time we have raced Mercedes this year," Horner said of the Monte-Carlo event. "Particularly in the last third of the race, Dan was the quickest car on the track so we can take a lot of confidence from that."
Horner admits, however, that Red Bull is likely to fall away from Mercedes at the Canadian Grand Prix.
"You go from one extreme to the other," said Horner, whose team sits second in the standings but 141 points adrift of Mercedes. "Monaco is all about handling characteristics, the next event is straight-line performance, so it is going to be very interesting to see how we fare against the Mercedes-powered teams in Montreal."
Horner believes Red Bull's biggest gains will come in the engine department at upcoming races.
"We are very much in Renault's hands," said Horner, referring to the French brand's quest for improvements.
"We are making progress. They are making progress. Total on the fuel side have been making progress.
"Really we are where we should have been in January, so there is still a long way and Mercedes are obviously not standing still. But we are only at race six; there is still a long way to go in this championship."