Thursday 29 June at 11:35 :
Jun.29 (GMM) Dr Helmut Marko says Red Bull is now ready to start winning races on its own merit.
The tumultuous Baku race last weekend was surprisingly won by Daniel Ricciardo, but the Red Bull driver admitted he lucked into the victory on a track that didn't suit the underpowered Renault engine.
However, team official Marko told Auto Motor und Sport the win was "extremely important" for the team after a "bad start" to 2017.
"The pace is now coming slowly," he said.
"It shows also in qualifying, although we cannot turn up the engine like Mercedes and Ferrari. But the direction is right.
"On the right track, we can already win on our own strength," Marko added.
"We are expecting a lot for Silverstone and Budapest. We have made a real step forward with the chassis and found a second since the start of the season.
"But Renault has also made significant progress," he said. "Two tenths on the straight in Baku does not sound much, but it makes a difference."
And so while Mercedes and Ferrari were once miles ahead of Red Bull in 2017, Marko says that is changing.
"We are already as strong as the second (best) car," said the Austrian. "Hamilton and Vettel are three to four tenths ahead, and with the power turned up it is even more.
"But we are moving in the right direction. We just have to survive our home race now," he added.
Marko is referring to the next round in Austria, where the Red Bull Ring is owned by the energy drink company.
"There is a lot of stop and go, many straights, short corners and uphill acceleration zones," he said. "There are too few places where we can make up for it with our chassis."
And not just that, Max Verstappen is obviously furious with Red Bull and Renault's recent run of reliability problems.
"Clearly we have to improve," Marko admitted, "also because it's happening in all areas."