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Christian Horner unconvinced by Mercedes ‘threat’ as Red Bull boss admits being surprised

Despite their improvements in recent races, Red Bull boss Christian Horner remains unphased by any potential threat from Mercedes. The Silver Arrows have recovered from a nightmare start to the season to see drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell share the podium for two consecutive Grand Prix events.

Red Bull chief Helmut Marko aims dig at Ferrari after recent troubles
24-year-old Russell has finished inside the top 5 of every race this season excluding Silverstone and now sits fourth in the drivers’ standings having leapfrogged Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz. The seven-time champion Hamilton, meanwhile, has finished inside the top three in each of the last five races and built some momentum which he will hope to continue after the summer break.

However, despite the improved performances, Toto Wolff’s men are still lacking in pace compared to Red Bull and therefore Horner does not seem too convinced that Mercedes will be in the fight come the end of the season. “I think we’re all surprised that Mercedes weren’t as close or weren’t setting the pace, because they’ve been such a dominant team over the years,” he told Formula.hu.

While Horner admitted Mercedes are improving, he didn’t say that they would definitely be able to compete with them in the second half of the season. “But they’re obviously working on their on their issues, and it just shows how competitive it is. You can see they’re getting closer to the action. I think at certain circuits they could well pose a threat later in the year,” he added.

With 13 races of 2022 in the books, Max Verstappen has a commanding 80-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship. Red Bull, meanwhile, are 97 points clear at the top of the Constructors’ standings and Horner hailed his team’s performance in the first half of the year.

“It’s been a really positive first half of the year – eight victories, two Sprint race victories, leading both championships,” he stated. “But of course, it means very little. It’s where you are at the end of the season that really counts.

“So whilst it’s been a very encouraging first half of the year, it’s now all about what we do in the second half of the season.” Ferrari were battling with Red Bull for the lead in the championship as the season commenced, but a slew of reliability issues, driver mishaps and wrong strategies have seen Charles Leclerc and Sainz miss out on valuable points and fall behind.

Red Bull are in a strong position heading into the second half of the season

It has been an impressive season for Red Bull so far
Horner said he was enjoying the battle against F1’s oldest surviving team and praised the electrifying battles on track between this season’s two leading drivers.

“I think Ferrari is an iconic brand. It’s all about what’s happening on track, and it’s very gratifying racing Ferrari,” the team boss commented.

“The racing between Charles [Leclerc] and Max has been fantastic this year, and hopefully that will continue.”

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