Red Bull boss Horner silences talk of Mercedes challenge

Mercedes claimed a double podium at the 2023 Spanish GP

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Red Bull team principal, Christian Horner, has shut down any discussion of Mercedes being back as challengers to the Austrian team by pointing out that the team finished 24 seconds behind Max Verstappen’s RB19 in Spain.

The reigning F1 World Champion produced a grand slam weekend, taking pole position, leading every lap and by claiming the fastest lap at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as he asserted his control of the 2023 F1 season.

For his Red Bull teammate, it was a different story. Sergio Perez started ahead of George Russell’s Mercedes car but went on to finish almost three seconds behind at the flag, and 11 seconds behind Lewis Hamilton’s W14.

The performance prompted discussion that Mercedes could lay down a challenge to the current Championship leaders at the back end of the calendar, but the Red Bull team principal reminded pundits of the size of the task ahead for the ex-world champions.

“Mercedes was still 23 seconds behind at the end of the race,” Horner said to Sky Sports F1 after the race, “So firstly, they’ve made a good step but we’ve got some stuff in the pipeline too.

“They’ve had a big upgrade and we’ve got bits coming later into the season.

“So for sure, it’s a big step, they are a quality team and for sure they’re going to put us under pressure and in the second half of the year.”

The 2023 Spanish GP was highly encouraging for the Brackley team after debuting their new chassis in Monaco as Lewis Hamilton finished 20 seconds ahead of his nearest non-Red Bull and non-Mercedes competitor.

Where is the next F1 2023 race?

With the F1 circus finished in Spain, the next race is the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix which will be held at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal over the weekend of June 16-18.

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