Ferrari and Red Bull make same Mercedes prediction ahead of Saudi GP

Horner opens up on Red Bull's 'barren spell' amid Mercedes dominance

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Ferrari and Red Bull chiefs have backed Mercedes to “wake up” and solve their issues after struggling at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton and George Russell lacked pace in the opening race of the season and dropped behind Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin to become the fourth-fastest constructor.

Team boss Toto Wolff has since pulled the plug on their current concept with the Mercedes team principal demanding engineers go back to the drawing board. Earlier this week, Mercedes revealed they already had a new idea in the wind tunnel after delving into the data from the first race.

However, the German manufacturers’ biggest rivals have backed the squad to bounce back sooner rather than later. Ferrari team boss Frederic Vasseur said: “It’s race one and we don’t have to do any conclusion.

“I think that Mercedes will wake up soon. We don’t know what will happen next week. The next race will be a different story in Jeddah with a different tarmac. So let’s see in Jeddah if we have a better picture.”

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After the race in Sakhir, Red Bull boss Helmut Marko claimed the Silver Arrows had “lost their way”. The Austrian stressed the squad had “not made any progress” and had actually taken a “step backwards” from 2022.

However, he still feels the squad was more than capable of pulling in the right direction before too long. Marko said: “After one race, it’s difficult to say. There are still many competitors left. I also believe that Mercedes will become better throughout the season.”

Team principal Christian Horner listed Mercedes among the team’s top rivals for the new campaign alongside Ferrari and Aston Martin. He also feels things can change “quickly” as teams get to grips with their new packages.

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Mercedes bounced back last season to become a regular podium finisher by mid-season. The squad even went on to pick up a victory with Russell clinching top spot in Brazil.

Horner commented: “I’ve been around long enough to see things change so quickly. I think these cars are still relatively immature and, as teams develop and upgrades come, things will change.”

“I think the operating windows of these cars is very narrow and every team in the top three looks like it has developed its own theme. One team has adopted our theme and it made a gain. So I guess at one point it is going to converge and that can happen during a season.”

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