Red Bull team principal Christian Horner concedes Mercedes “have quite a lot of pace in hand” over its Formula 1 rivals after the opening three races of the 2020 season.

Mercedes has landed three pole positions and a trio of convincing victories across the Austrian, Styrian and Hungarian Grands Prix to open up a comfortable early lead in both world championships.

Red Bull has emerged as Mercedes’ closest challengers, though the Milton Keynes squad is already 66 points adrift in the constructors’ championship, while Max Verstappen is 30 points behind championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

“We are definitely closer in the race, but Mercedes still have an advantage,” Horner said following the last race in Hungary.

“We have some anomalies with the car that aren’t behaving as we expect them to, so a lot of work is going in to understanding that and addressing that for the future races.

“The recovery [in Hungary] I thought was very strong, but still Mercedes have quite a lot of pace in hand as you can see.”

Red Bull has also been thwarted by ongoing chassis issues with its RB16 that has resulted in its car “misbehaving aerodynamically” during the first three races. The team is currently investigating the problem heading into the next run of races, beginning with the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this weekend.

Asked if he believes Red Bull can overturn the deficit and catch Mercedes, Horner replied: “It’s a significant gap but it depends on how much performance we can unlock on RB16.

“We know we’ve got the fundamental basics of a decent car here, it’s just not behaving as our simulation tools predicted as it will and we need to understand that and making sure it’s achieving what it should be doing, which hasn’t been the case.

“I think there’s a lot of good data from this weekend, and the team’s working very hard to understand it and get on top of it.”