Red Bull Formula 1 chief Christian Horner believes Pierre Gasly is now "much more confident" after an impressive display over the Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend as he bounces back from a difficult start to the season.

Gasly was promoted into a Red Bull seat from Toro Rosso for 2019, replacing Daniel Ricciardo, but failed to reach Q3 at both of his first two races.

The Frenchman said he was struggling to get to grips with Red Bull's RB15 car, but put in stronger displays in China - finishing sixth with the fastest lap - and Azerbaijan, where despite starting from the pit lane, he was set to score points before being forced to retire.

"Ironically, despite being excluded three times and he didn’t finish race, it was a strong weekend for him," Red Bull team boss Horner told Sky Sports.

"Almost the mistake on Friday took the pressure off him. Qualifying was exceptional on the one lap he did and the race was strong.

"Something really clicked. It’s a shame you didn’t see the result. I think he’s much more confident."

Gasly explained on Thursday how he felt he was becoming more comfortable in the RB15 car ahead of this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

"Quite a lot of things happened since the beginning of the season. Overall, things didn't really come our way so far, but I can see progress," he said.

"I’m getting more comfortable inside the car. The direction we are taking is working and making me feel better.

"We saw some progress in Baku. We had penalties, and unfortunately I had to retire in the race, but we’re going in the right direction."