- Red Bull
Gap to Mercedes will be bigger in Bahrain - Red Bull
Red Bull suspects Mercedes has yet to show its true pace and is concerned its advantage is going to be accentuated at next weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.
Sebastian Vettel finished third in Malaysia behind the two Mercedes, but was nearly 25 seconds shy of Lewis Hamilton in first place by the end of the race. Red Bull boss Christian Horner said it is clear Mercedes has a power advantage and thinks that will result in a bigger gap next weekend.
"I think their advantage in Bahrain will be bigger than it was here because it's a power dominated circuit," he said. "Our middle sector [in Malaysia] was good but the first sector is where they have killed us all weekend because it is effectively two straights. On average there is about half a second or more than that [between Mercedes and Red Bull] on those two straights.
"In Bahrain I don't think we are going to have a solution overnight and it doesn't tend to rain in Bahrain much either! We are going to try to make as much progress as we can in the week. The [engine] dynos are busy running in Paris and hopefully we can nudge a bit closer to them again if it's possible next weekend."
Horner also suspects Mercedes is holding something back.
"It's a big gap. They've obviously got plenty up their sleeve at the moment and we did well to get as close to them as we did. Their advantage, it's clear that it's in a straight line and we are working very hard with Viry, who considering we're doing what we're doing, is beyond expectation. Renault knows there is a lot more to come once the sort out reliability issues and so on, and our curve in terms of catching up on straight-line speed will be steep but hopefully we can make steps.
"It's a matter of getting all three elements working in harmony, which is the internal combustion engine, the turbo and the energy recovery system, which of course affects your braking as much as acceleration and power delivery. At the moment we are not there yet.
"I think they can [make those steps] because a lot of their issues are software related. Hopefully the steps can be made and we can close that gap down. But it's not just Renault, you saw Alonso on a new set of tyres and with DRS fully open still couldn't pass Hulkenberg on a scrubbed set of tyres. It's not just Renault, but hats off to Mercedes who have done a very good job with this new engine over the winter. We've got to work very hard to catch them."