Red Bull is operating at the same level as Formula 1 rivals Mercedes and Ferrari and can compete for more victories at upcoming races, according to team boss Christian Horner.

A gamble to switch onto a two-stop strategy during a mid-race Safety Car enabled Daniel Ricciardo to pull off a remarkable charge from sixth on the grid to win Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix, despite facing the prospect of starting from the back of the Shanghai grid after encountering engine issues before qualifying. 

When asked if Red Bull’s Chinese Grand Prix display is a sign the team can be contenders at every race, Horner replied: I hope so, this is a circuit that with over a kilometre long straight, it won’t be our strongest circuit. 

“Our drivers said it was harder to follow the Ferrari than the Mercedes on this track. There are circuits coming up which will hopefully play more to our strengths and where hopefully we can have more great races.”

Horner also responded to recent comments from reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton, who doubted whether Red Bull was currently in a position to challenge Mercedes and Ferrari after looking quicker in testing than compared to its performances in Australia and Bahrain

But Horner is convinced Red Bull is now in the fight after it claimed a victory before Mercedes in 2018 - marking the first time in the V6 hybrid era that the German manufacturer has failed to record a win in the opening three races of a season. 

“There was a quote from Lewis that he didn’t think we were operating at the same level as Mercedes and Ferrari. I think we’ve demonstrated this team is clearly capable of operating at this level. It’s why I sent Chris Gent, the number one from Daniel’s car, to the podium.

“It’s inevitable in all sports that at some point, the winning becomes harder or stops. Mercedes still has a quick car. It’s incredible that after three races they haven’t won a Grand Prix yet. They certainly will win races in the near future I’m sure. It’s inevitable in any sport that there will be cycles.” 



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