The quickest Red Bull was two-tenths of a second slower than the pace-setting Mercedes on the first day of practice at the street track. Horner said the layout minimises the key weakness of the RB10.
“Its layout, the nature of the circuit, doesn’t put such a premium on straight-line performance which has obviously been our weakness this year,” he said. “So we’re hoping to give these guys [Mercedes] a run for their money this weekend.”
“For sure they’re going to be strong again here, they’ve always been strong in Monaco, but we’ve had a solid day today, the drivers have been feeling their way into the circuit and working on the set-up and it’s been an encouraging start to the weekend.”
Red Bull have emerged as the ‘best of the rest’ behind Mercedes despite a string of problems with their Renault engines in testing.
“Obviously when you consider where we were pre-season to where we are at this stage we’ve come a pretty long way in a couple of months,” said Horner. “Hopefully if we can keep that rate of progress up than we will be able to challenge the two Mercedes drivers before, hopefully, too long in the future.”
Although Red Bull have gained on Mercedes in recent races, Horner is wary that the next event on the calendar is be at a ‘power track’ where Red Bull could be vulnerable.
“It’s certainly closer and of course Renault are working very hard with Total as well to reduce the gap to Mercedes. We made a bit of a step in Barcelona and we feel we’re a little bit closer again this weekend.
“But I think that our biggest test is going to be in two weeks in Montreal as opposed to in the streets around Monaco.”
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Image © Red Bull/Getty