Red Bull Formula 1 team boss Christian Horner believes Mercedes has returned to the level of dominance it showed at the start of the V6 hybrid era in 2014.

Mercedes dominated the first three years of the hybrid era, winning an impressive 51 out of 59 races between 2014 and 2016.

2017 and 2018 proved more tricky for Mercedes with Ferrari and Red Bull closing in after a change in aerodynamic regulations but Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes still claimed both titles.

 

Mercedes has dominated in 2020 so far, taking pole position at each race and winning all but one - the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone, where Max Verstappen took the chequered flag after both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas suffered severe tyre blistering.

Reflecting on the year so far, Horner is sure Mercedes’ current performance levels is “right up there” with its most dominant period.

“Their first year [in 2014] they were incredibly dominant. But they didn’t quite show their full hand because they had such a power advantage.

“I think collectively, power unit and chassis, they’re very, very strong at the moment. But we’ve shown that they can be beaten, at Silverstone. And so that’s what we have to focus on, extracting and working to our strengths and getting more out of our car to take that fight to them on a more consistent basis.”

With Mercedes slipping up last time out at Monza, Horner admitted it was “frustrating” to not be able to capitalise with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly ultimately claiming an unlikely win.

“The car was never particularly happy in a very low downforce configuration,” Horner added. “So qualifying fifth we still felt with Max, we had a chance in the race, Alex ninth.

“It wasn’t the best first lap, we lost quite a lot of performance at the start because the car overheated. And it did likewise at the second start. Then unfortunately we had a retirement. So on a day where Mercedes didn’t, for once, dominate proceedings we weren’t able to capitalise on that, which was frustrating.

“In the event that we weren’t able to, it was fantastic to see AlphaTauri, Franz [Tost] and Pierre get that victory. But Monza for us felt like an opportunity lost.”

 

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