Red Bull wary of resurgent Mercedes

George Russell earned his second podium, and Mercedes' third, of the season by finishing in P3 at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Red Bull team principal Christian Horner believes that it will not be too long before Mercedes start involving themselves in the title fight in 2022.

The Silver Arrows looked a lot better in Spain last weekend after a tumultuous last few weekends that were littered with inconsistency, a confusing lack of pace and the “porpoising” phenomenon that they have been battling with as a result of the ground effect aerodynamics.

However, they found themselves in the top three in two of the three practice sessions in Barcelona with George Russell, while Sir Lewis Hamilton was third in FP2 just behind his team-mate.

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The 24-year-old was involved in a brilliant battle with the Red Bull pair of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, but was ultimately unable to hold them off as they claimed a one-two.

However, after a mistake by Carlos Sainz and a reliability failure for Charles Leclerc, Russell took full advantage by ending the race on the podium – his second of the season.

Hamilton started the race sixth, two positions behind Russell, but contact with Kevin Magnussen put him down to 19th with a puncture on the opening lap.

However, the seven-time champion made a splendid recovery to fifth, and often had the fastest race pace on his way back through the field.

All in all, they were much improved last weekend from the stuttering German outfit we have seen in the early going of the year, but this does not come as any surprise to Horner.

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“They’re getting themselves back into this championship. I’ve said from race one that they’re a very, very strong team,” he explained.

“They’ve got great strength in depth, and you can see they’ve made a big step this weekend, that it’s been a positive weekend for them.

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“We don’t underestimate any of our rivals and I think Ferrari had a horrible day today, but their pace again was very, very strong this weekend. So, I think it’s only going to get tighter.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has previously been fairly pessimistic about his team’s title chances, but his spirits were lifted by the 25-point haul in Spain.

“Can we fight for a world championship? You bet we can,” he affirmed.

“We have reasons to believe we can get there. If you look at the standings that is very hard to see but motor racing is a different ball game.

“We’ve seen today that Ferrari didn’t score a lot of points when they should have and we will absolutely push flat out to bring us back into the game.”

As for the bouncing, Hamilton affirmed that: “We do still have bouncing but not in a straight line,” while stating that he is “grateful” to his team for the work that has gone into improving the car since round one.