Formula 1 - Red Bull: Mercedes was always a threat

Red Bull says it is no surprise that Mercedes has got itself into championship contention as it always saw it as a title threat.

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Red Bull Chief Technical Officer Adrian Newey (L) and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner at the Spielberg circuit in Austria (Reuters)

Lewis Hamilton's victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix has set up the prospect of a thrilling contest over the second half of the season, especially if Mercedes can keep up its qualifying dominance.

When asked if he believed there was a genuine fight for the championship now, Red Bull boss Christian Horner said: "I don't think it has ever been off.

"Mercedes from the second race have been very, very quick and that is still the case here.

"We have seen different races, and different cars emerging at front of field, whether it was Kimi [Raikkonen] in Germany, Lewis here or Nico [Rosberg] at Silverstone.

"We are set for an intense fight in second half of year. We have to keep maintaining our consistency, no matter who the opposition is."

Horner says that Sebastian Vettel's hopes of challenging Hamilton for the Hungarian GP win were wrecked by him losing time behind Jenson Button and then damage to his front wing.

"It was a great race for the fans but it was a tough race for us in all honesty," said Horner.

"The damage Sebastian sustained in trying to go past Jenson after the first stop, obviously compromised his race quite badly.

"So to have salvaged a podium out of it was a very, very strong result.

"Lewis has always been extremely strong around here, and that is his fourth victory here - which is a tremendous score rate.

"The damage was effectively done in qualifying and I think we could have given him a harder time in the race if we had cleared Jenson early.

"We didn't and he [Lewis] thoroughly deserved the win, and was able to control the pace.

"Once we were stuck behind Jenson that took quite a bit of pressure off.

"That was a shame for us and good for him, but I am still very pleased we got some decent points out of it."

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