Ferrari found themselves to be way off pace in Australia, despite having a very strong testing spree in Barcelona.
While Ferrari would have been focussing on getting things right to beat Mercedes, they now have Red Bull to worry about too, as Max Verstappen was able to breeze pass Sebastian Vettel and secure a podium finish in Melbourne.
Red Bull have faced some criticism over their bold move to switch from Renault to Honda, but from the looks of it, Honda is giving Red Bull a fair chance of winning the 2019 title.
In the post race debrief, Helmut Marko took a subtle dig at Ferrari for being off pace in Melbourne and how Red Bull are now looking ahead at just Mercedes.
Christian Horner says Mercedes are 'miles ahead' and that the second row in Australia was the 'maximum attainable' for Red Bull.
— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) March 16, 2019
“We kept the distance to Mercedes within respectable limits,” Marko said.
“We are not looking behind us to Ferrari now.
“For us, first place is always the bar, so we look forward.” he added.
Talking about the positives from the first GP, Marko admitted that things looked really bright for Red Bull and Max Verstappen. Grinding out a podium finish in Australian was difficult, but Red Bull managed to do that and would take heart from it.
They would now work on the chassis and hope that the next few grand prix too according to plan, so as to put pressure on Mercedes going deep into the 2019 season.
“We want more than third places. But the team is on the right track, and if we talk about pace, then we were on equal terms with Hamilton.
“Now we have to work on the chassis as fast as possible. We need more downforce, because we’ve built cars with as little downforce as possible in recent years so the drag is not too great.
“But that’s not the problem anymore.” Marko concluded.