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Resurgent Red Bull sets sights on Mercedes

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Resurgent Red Bull sets sights on Mercedes
By:
Aug 1, 2016, 3:49 PM

Red Bull says the push is now on to close the performance gap to Mercedes over the remainder of the season, after it achieved its aim of overhauling Ferrari at the German Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12 battle for position
Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12 battle for position
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB12 battle for position

The Milton Keynes-based team has emerged as F1's second fastest team in recent races, but team boss Christian Horner thinks it can now do even better and reduce what it thinks is only a small pace advantage that championship leaders Mercedes has right now.

"There are some races on the calendar that will hopefully be favourable to us, and our objective is to try to close that gap still further to Mercedes ahead," explained Horner.

"I think we were on average within 0.3 of a second here. And what is really encouraging is on that final stint, that Nico [Rosberg] wasn't able to make any inroads into either of our drivers on the soft tyre."

Although much of Red Bull's focus is now on the 2017 car, Horner still sees scope for improvements in refining its package – and getting better performance from its power unit.

"We still have a few bits that we can tidy up on the car this year that are in the pipeline, which have been kicked off some time ago," he said.

"I think there is still progress that is going on with the engine and driveability and I think that there are some positive things in the pipeline that hopefully can help us try to reduce that gap yet further."

Ferrari boost

Horner had been bold in setting out a target of overtaking Ferrari for second in the constructors' championship over the German GP weekend – a feat his team achieved with Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen both on the podium.

He sees no reason why Red Bull cannot further pull clear and says the push to close down Mercedes will ultimately help it seal the runner-up spot in the title chase if it continues to make progress.

"We have had a positive run of results recently," he said. "We have come from more than 30 points behind Ferrari, to go into the summer break 14 points up.

"We have had great performance at a variance of circuits, from Austria to Silverstone to Budapest and now here: four very different venues and four very different surfaces. I think that bodes well for the second part of the season.

"But you always have to look ahead rather than behind, and on average we've been within 0.3 seconds of Mercedes on short run and long runs. So what we are looking is how can we further reduce that gap, and the points will then tend to take care of themselves."

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Gallery: Vettel's 2017 Pirelli tyre test at Fiorano

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