Christian Horner says Red Bull is already 'snapping at the ankles' of Ferrari in terms of pace as he admitted to being shocked by his team's turn of form during the Chinese Grand Prix.
The four-time title winning team secured its first podium of the season following a charging drive by Daniil Kvyat to third position, while Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth despite losing time with a puncture whilst leading initially.
A performance that exceeded the expectations of Red Bull team principal Horner around a Shanghai International Circuit he didn't expect the Renault (TAG Heuer) engined car to star, he was thrilled with the result and the pace relative to Ferrari.
“I'm still in shock from Saturday [Ricciardo qualifying on front row],” he said. "This circuit, we compromise our set up to find pace in sector three where we know we're weak and so we're running light on downforce compared to cars around us but the car, particularly in the race seems very good and I think that Ricciardo just nailed the perfect lap.
“Mercedes - make no mistake - they're still a step ahead. But we're snapping at the ankles of Ferrari. Both our cars beat one of them today. Sebastian wasn't so far up the road and I think a clean race from Ricciardo would've been seriously competitive. So it's been a really positive weekend for the whole team.
“To come away from China only giving one point away to Ferrari, I didn't expect that coming into the weekend. So a lot of positives. And we know hopefully with what's in the pipeline, it should put us that bit closer.”
Indeed, Horner has played up the potential of a significant upgrade coming in time for round seven in Canada, one that he says could allow Red Bull to create 'mischief'.
“The guys both in Viry and in Milton Keynes are doing a great job and you can genuinely see the progress that's being made. Hopefully [from Canada] we can really start to cause a bit of mischief ahead of us.”