By Chris Medland |
Mark Sutton/Motorsport Images
Red Bull is motivated by the fact that it has a realistic chance of winning the championship this year, even though Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton won the first race of the season.
Hamilton managed to hold off Max Verstappen in the closing laps of a thrilling Bahrain Grand Prix after the Red Bull driver had secured pole position and led earlier on with what appeared to be a quicker car. Although Mercedes gained track position through earlier pit stops and then kept Verstappen at bay, Red Bull’s chief engineer Paul Monaghan says it is clear both teams can firmly target the title this season.
“Enormously, because the prize at the end of the year is very much within the grasp, at the moment, of ourselves and Mercedes,” Monaghan said. “Others will challenge and if it gives you the realization that we can challenge for this and they are (beatable).
“We’ve got a fast car and we’ve just got to pick ourselves up from this one. We got second place and we were fighting for the victory. It’s not as if we’ve been left behind. Everyone is motivated and there’s a championship to win, so let’s get on with it, it’s done now.”
Although strategy helped Mercedes to victory in Bahrain, Monaghan says that shouldn’t prove too frustrating for Red Bull and will soon be forgotten if Verstappen hits back in future races.
“I don’t know if it slipped away,” he said. “We more played our cards differently and in the end, by running past the curb by two meters we’ve had to give the place back and that’s it. The car was capable of being quicker over the race. The disappointment within the garage is palpable, yet we’re disappointed to be only second place. There are many people in the paddock who would give up an awful lot to have a trophy and 18 points from one driver.
“We’ve had pole, we’re quick. They [Mercedes] are going to have a fight on their hands, as are we, throughout the season. So when one overcomes the disappointment, we have a quick car, we have a motivated pair of drivers and team, and we get another go at Imola. If we win it, this will be forgotten and we’ll review it as history and move on.”