Red Bull camp bracing for Mercedes rebound

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Red Bull Racing expects arch-rival Mercedes to bounce back after its disappointing results in Monaco and Baku as the championship returns to conventional tracks, starting this weekend with the French Grand Prix at the Circuit Paul Ricard.

Mercedes came away with just seven points from its trips to Monaco and Baku where the reigning world champions were outpaced and outscored by Red Bull.

The Milton Keynes-based outfit now enjoys a 26-point lead over Mercedes in the Constructors' standings, but the team is all too aware of the Brackley squad's ability to fight back when

"Now we start going back to more classic circuits, that's going to be interesting to see, but it's very much game on," said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, while engine partner Honda also expects a Mercedes comeback.

"Mercedes is not a silent team," said Honda F1 technical director Toyoharu Tanabe. "Of course, I think they will come back. The [Baku] results are good, but that doesn't mean we're going to be good at coming races."

After his unlucky demise from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Max Verstappen lamented his retirement and the subsequent lack of points given the mistake suffered at the end of the race by Lewis Hamilton, his opponent in the title battle.

"I think Mercedes is stronger at normal circuits, that's why I would have liked to get a bit more margin [in Baku]," he told Ziggo Sport TV.

"We know they'll be strong at the normal circuits. But we'll see. We've had two positive weekends because the car was really strong in the race.

"I don't think anyone had a chance to threaten us during the race, so that's a positive sign."

But Verstappen knows that Red Bull will need to keep up its momentum until when the curtain falls in Abu Dhabi.

"We have to keep pushing and keep improving right to the very end because it’s never enough," he said ahead of this weekend's round at Paul Ricard.

"So far the season has been pretty good to us but we need to remember that there are still a lot of races ahead of us.

"I am happy with the race results that we have had so far and that we are leading the championship, but we also have to be there leading it in Abu Dhabi, that’s all that matters."

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