Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes beat Max Verstappen of Red Bull to the win in Istanbul
Red Bull boss Christian Horner has admitted to finding Mercedes’ improved performances “surprising”, adding that his team couldn’t “get near them” at the Turkish Grand Prix this past weekend.
Mercedes have won the last two races in Formula 1 and Horner believes his rivals have taken a “significant step” with their straight-line speed.
The team secured a 1-2 in qualifying for the Turkish GP, although Lewis Hamilton was hit with a grid penalty after changing his engine on Friday.
Valtteri Bottas won from pole for his first victory of the season and although Hamilton now trails Red Bull’s Max Verstappen by six points in the drivers’ standings, Mercedes hold a 36-point lead in the constructors with six races of the season remaining.
“Their straight-line speed has taken a significant step recently and I think that – whereas we could match them with smaller wings previously – now we can’t get near them,” Horner said.
“We saw that particularly at this circuit, where Lewis in particular had a significant straight-line advantage with a bigger rear wing of the car.
“We’ve got to maximise our package as best we can and it’s surprising that they appear to have made the step that they have with the power unit.”
Mercedes have won the last seven constructors championships, but Red Bull have this season posed the biggest threat to ending that streak.
Red Bull won five races in a row earlier this year and Verstappen has the best chance of ending Mercedes’ dominance and winning Red Bull their first title since 2013.
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