Christian Horner insists Red Bull has closed the gap to Mercedes despite the result in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo finished third behind the two Mercedes cars, but he was a full 49 seconds behind race winner Lewis Hamilton at the chequered flag. While the margin is the biggest that Mercedes has enjoyed all season, Horner said the way the race had panned out had led to such a gap and he is convinced Red Bull is closer on performance than at previous races.

"It's very encouraging that we've had a positive race," Horner said. "The 48 second gap is slightly artificial because we lost a lot of time behind the Williams in the first stint and then once you find yourself in no-man's-land it's about managing the tyres to the end of the race.

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"If you look at the last stints in particular when Mercedes was pushing flat out and Sebastian [Vettel] and Daniel had a bit of clear air, we definitely moved a bit closer. There's still some way to go but we definitely have moved a bit closer.

"For sure they were pushing as hard as they could, so it wasn't like Mercedes was taking it easy, but it's a significant gap that we've still got to overcome. But it's great to see that we have made progress and taken a step ahead of the Ferraris and the rest of the field."

Asked what he felt the true performance difference between Mercedes and Red Bull now is, Horner replied: "I'd say it's about six tenths; 0.6 seconds..."