Red Bull still fear ‘dangerous’ Mercedes potential despite struggles

Red Bull’s chief F1 advisor Helmut Marko believes Mercedes have shown enough pace to be a threat later this season

Red Bull’s chief F1 advisor Helmut Marko admits his team are wary of the “dangerous potential” that Mercedes-AMG have despite their early-season struggles.

Red Bull are currently 101 points ahead of eight-time champions Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship, with Ferrari their closest rivals and this is replicated in the Drivers’ Championship standings - where Max Verstappen is 41 and 75 ahead of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton respectively.

Porpoising has limited the effectiveness of Mercedes so far this season, with their British drivers fighting just to stay competitive but Marko has seen enough improvements in the W13 to be concerned about its potential going forward.

“Mercedes is doing incredibly fast laps in practice and also in the races, both with Hamilton and Russell,” Marko told Formel1.de “Not continuously, so for us it’s difficult to interpret where that lap time is coming from. Listening closely to the Mercedes people, I don’t think they know either.

“But the dangerous thing is the potential seems to be there. And once that can be called up over a race distance, then they’ll be right up there or right at the front.”

When asked if he thought Mercedes had been bluffing about its speed all season, he replied: “No, it’s not a bluff. The bluff was where they had this weird engine advantage and last year the Hamilton engine – there they were bluffing hard. So, I don’t believe that.

“And it’s really incredibly hard to understand where this [car is] incredibly fast. They were the fastest in the field at [one] stage, but it doesn’t last long.

“What exactly changes there, why they can’t drive that continuously, is just – thank God – still the problem, I would say.”

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