Red Bull boss Christian Horner says only a “fuck up by gargantuan proportions” would prevent Mercedes from winning both Formula 1 world championships this season.

A remarkably recent run of consistent form - including two victories in the last four races – has led Mercedes to earmark Max Verstappen as a title threat this year, with the Red Bull driver closing to within seven points of second-placed Valtteri Bottas after the Dutchman finished runner-up behind Lewis Hamilton in Hungary.

Verstappen sits 69 points adrift of championship leader Hamilton and with just nine rounds remaining, Horner believes the deficit will be insurmountable without a Mercedes capitulation in the second half of the season.

“Lewis has close to a three-race advantage with nine to go, so basically he would have to not turn up for three races,” Horner said.

“If his cough comes back or something or he gets athlete’s foot, it’s hugely unlikely. They would have to fuck up by gargantuan proportions not to win this championship.

“But our target for the rest of the year is to close that gap and hopefully some races will work out the other way around for us like they did last weekend [in Germany].

“And as we get more performance on the car as Honda continues to make progress, this is very much a building year as we go into 2020.”

Hamilton’s latest victory in Hungary means he has now claimed eight victories from the opening 12 rounds of 2019, while Mercedes holds a huge 150-point buffer to Ferrari in the constructors’ standings, with Red Bull a further 44 points back.

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