Red Bull concern as chief admits four of last six races favour Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes

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Red Bull have admitted they are worried that the majority of the races left in the current season will favour their Mercedes rivals. The teams are locked in a tense battle for the constructor’s championship with 36 points separating them with just six races remaining.

Meanwhile, in the drivers’ title battle, their main man Max Verstappen leads Lewis Hamilton by six points after comfortably claiming second place last time out at the Turkish Grand Prix.

Hamilton was forced to settle for fifth in Istanbul, after aborting a plan to go through the whole race without changing tyres late on and giving places to Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc.

Mercedes still outscored their Red Bull rivals, though, with 36 points from Valtteri Bottas’ win and fastest lap and Hamilton’s fifth-placed finish, compared to the 33-point combination from Verstappen and Perez in second and third.

That failure to capitalise on a rare non-podium for Hamilton means Red Bull are starting to be cut adrift by their Mercedes rivals, with only half-a-dozen races left to make up the deficit.

Advisor Helmut Marko knows full well that their task is a difficult one, and according to the Austrian it is made even harder because four of those six remaining races favour the Mercedes W12 over their RB16B.

“At the moment I only see two races where we have advantages because of the altitude – Mexico and Sao Paulo,” he told F1 Insider.

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“At the other four circuits, Mercedes is the favourite at the moment.”

Red Bull’s Honda power unit is generally able to cope better with the thinner air at higher altitudes compared to the Mercedes engine.

The upcoming races in Mexico and Brazil are the two tracks on the calendar highest above sea level, but the same cannot be said for the other races in the USA, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Team principal Christian Horner has also talked up the advantage the higher altitude at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and at Interlagos will give them after what may be a tough outing at the Circuit of the Americas.

“Arguably [Istanbul] has been Mercedes’ strongest circuit that we’ve seen so far this season so to have two cars on the podium and retake the lead in the drivers’ championship is a positive day for us,” he said.

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“We know the next race in Austin has been a Hamilton stronghold for quite a few years now but then Mexico, Brazil hopefully, the higher altitude races have tended to be quite strong for us in the past.

“And then really not sure what to expect from the last three.”

Marko added that, while Mercedes came away from Turkey with more points, Red Bull are satisfied with their results which could have been far worse.

He also heaped praise on AlphaTauri pair Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda, who both did admirable jobs of slowing Hamilton down as he cut through the field from his starting position of 11th.

“Of course we are happy with the result in Turkey,” he said. “It was one hundred percent damage control.

“Bottas was out of reach with his speed. Hamilton’s speed could have been even higher after his grid penalty, but Tsunoda and Perez cost him the time he lacked at the end. That was the plan.”

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