Heading into the final two races of an engrossing 2021 F1 season, Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton by eight points in the Drivers’ Championship, with Mercedes five ahead of Red Bull in the Constructors’.
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner has no doubt that his team is better than Mercedes when asked and believes winning one of the titles in 2021 would surpass the four in a row they achieved across both championships from 2010 to 2013.
''As a team, yes, I think we are [better than Mercedes],'' he said.
''We’ve managed to put this challenge together; we’ve won more races so far and we’ve had a bit of bad luck along the way.
''Who’s put Mercedes in this position in the last seven years? They’ve never been in this position and we’re just enjoying the fight, the challenge, the competition.
''If we do manage to pull this off, even one of them [championships] off in Abu Dhabi, I think arguably will be our biggest achievement [to date].''
The last two races have seen Lewis Hamilton take dominant victories as he’s cut Verstappen’s lead in the Drivers’ Championship to just eight points.
Nonetheless, the British team principal is hopeful that the Dutchman can take his first championship come Abu Dhabi in two weeks' time.
''I think we can still do it,'' Horner said.
''When you see how Max has driven [in Qatar], I’m pleased to be going into the last two races ahead because we’re in a knockout phase now.
''It’s going to be fascinating the circuit in Jeddah. We feel that it’s a high-speed Baku so that could be interesting.
''I think what we were really encouraged about [in Qatar] was that the straight-line speed [of Mercedes] was line-on-line with our car; that’s encouraging for those final two races.
''Our simulations show that it [Saudi Arabia] probably weighs more towards Mercedes strengths at that circuit, but then we thought this one [Qatar] might play more to our strengths... so what do we know.''
Horner admitted turn 6 at Qatar was where Red Bull heavily lost out to Hamilton and Mercedes and says they’ll be trying to understand it before the final two races in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
''It’s one we need to understand because it looks a pretty straightforward hairpin corner,'' he said.
''It’s a chunk of time we’ve given away just in that corner and I think that there’ll be quite a lot of analysis, work and setup work on understanding what caused that.''
He also confirmed Red Bull won’t be bringing any upgrades to the car for the final two events and believes getting the right setup to get the tyres working is going to be the key.
''I think it’s all about setup,'' he said.
''It’s all about getting the very best that we can out of every ounce of performance, getting the setup right and finding the sweet spot.
''These tyres are so so sensitive and when you get them in the window, you can really extract a lot of performance.''