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Red Bull questions Mercedes speed gains

RED Bull team principal Christian Horner has expressed his “surprise” at gains he says Mercedes have made with their engine performance.

Under Formula 1’s rules, the title rivals are not allowed to improve the power of their engines in-season.

Horner said Mercedes’ straight-line speed “has taken a significant step recently”.

“It’s surprising they appear to have made the step they have with the power-unit,” he added.

Mercedes reject Red Bull’s claims, saying nothing has changed in their engine apart from fitting a new one to Hamilton’s car for last weekend’s Turkish Grand Prix.

Both Hamilton and title rival Max Verstappen of Red Bull have taken new engines – at the cost of grid penalties – over the last two races, Verstappen at the previous race in Russia, Hamilton in Turkey.

Verstappen leads Hamilton by six points with six races to go after the Dutchman finished second in Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix and Hamilton in fifth.

Internal combustion engines always degrade over time, so Hamilton’s new engine will have provided a small performance advantage over the one he was using previously. –