Christian Horner believes Mercedes calling Red Bull “favorites” is an attempt by them to put pressure on the team.
For the first time since 2017, the gap between the top two teams is less than 10 points after two races. In 2017, Mercedes was a point ahead of Ferrari. This time, Mercedes are seven points ahead of Red Bull.
Despite Mercedes leading both the drivers and constructors title, Toto Wolff has consistently said that Red Bull are the favorites with the quicker car.
“It’s theirs to lose, ours to win, because when you have the quickest car, you have got to deliver on that,” Wolff has said this month.
Christian Horner though, believes this is all mind games by Mercedes to pressure Red Bull into a mistake.
“Of course, Toto will inevitably try to identify Red Bull as the favorite in order to create a perception of having to chase and catch up. But I just don’t believe we are the favorites, to be honest with you. We’re up against a seven times consecutive world champion. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out the odds: they will tell you who the favorite is.”
Horner believes that rather than Mercedes being slower, their car is trickier to get on top of, not dissimilar to the W08 of 2017.
“Mercedes has been tagging us as the favorite, and Toto is obviously extremely keen to deflect attention: but it’s somewhat short-sighted. When you look, they are seven-time reigning world champions, they had one bad test. Their car was every bit quick as ours in the race in Bahrain, and their tire degradations look very good.”
The next battle of the giants is set to take place this weekend at Portimao for the Portuguese Grand Prix.