Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says his team is "snapping at the ankles of Ferrari" after its showing in the Chinese Grand Prix.
Daniel Ricciardo outqualified both Ferrari drivers to start second alongside Nico Rosberg in Shanghai, and led in to Turn 1 before a puncture demoted him to the back of the field. Daniil Kvyat comfortably held off Sebastian Vettel for second place in the middle stint before dropping behind the Ferrari to third by the end, but with Ricciardo recovering to fourth Horner was encouraged by the relative pace.
"Mercedes - make no mistake - they’re still a step ahead," Horner said. "But we’re snapping at the ankles of Ferrari. Both our cars beat one of them Sebastian wasn’t so far up the road and I think a clean race from Ricciardo would’ve been seriously competitive.
"So it’s been a really positive weekend for the whole team. To come away from here only giving one point away to Ferrari. I didn’t expect that coming into the weekend. So a lot of positives. And we know hopefully with what’s in the pipeline, it should put us that bit closer."
Asked if it had been a long time since he had the feeling of being in the fight at the front, Horner replied: "Let’s see it first.
"Pieces of paper are all very easy to look at but it’s the stopwatch that doesn’t lie. The guys both in Viry and in Milton Keynes are doing a great job and you can genuinely see the progress that’s being made."