Max Verstappen feels Red Bull is in the running after its opening day at the Hungarian Grand Prix, but the Dutchman remains wary of the mighty Mercedes squad.
Verstappen trailed Lewis Hamilton in FP1 and concluded a largely irrelevant FP2 in second position behind bull teammate Pierre Gasly.
The Dutchman admitted having experimented with his RB15 in the morning and found a reasonably good balance in the afternoon.
"We tried a lot of things. Some worked and some didn't," said Verstappen. "Still at the end of the day I think we are competitive.
"We tried a few things on the car. Initially I was happy in FP1 then we tried a few things that I was not so happy about. I had a very strong front end but was losing the rear.
"But I think it was important we test those things because again in FP2, the car had a nice balance."
Overall, Verstappen feels his RB15-Honda package is on the right track, but still behind Mercedes.
"We seem to be competitive, but I still expect Mercedes to be a little bit ahead of us," he said.
"We still have a little bit of work to do, but it was also not bad at all. We are competitive again this weekend but let's wait and see tomorrow."
Gasly echoed his teammate's view but warned against jumping to conclusions based on Friday afternoon's performance given the specific track conditions.
“We have a strong car and the package seems to be working well in both the dry and the wet, but we can’t take many conclusions from today with the mixed conditions," said the Frenchman.
"I was happy with the car in both sessions, even if we didn’t do many laps, but it’s too early to see where we stand.
"I don’t know what’s going to happen with the weather tomorrow but it could be really unpredictable like today with more tricky conditions.
"I think as expected Mercedes are really fast and we probably didn’t see Ferrari’s true pace so we’ll find out tomorrow what we can fight for, but the battle with Ferrari will be pretty tight."