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Honda F1 chief surprised by Red Bull's huge lead over Ferrari

Honda are pleased with Red Bull's performance so far in 2022, though remain realistic about why the points gap between the team and Ferrari is currently so substantial.

Honda F1 chief Yasuaki Asaki admits that Red Bull's points advantage over Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship has come as something of a surprise. The Milton Keynes-based squad have a 97-point lead over the Scuderia, while Max Verstappen now has 80 more points than nearest rival Charles Leclerc in the Drivers' standings. Red Bull have been aided in their success by Honda who, despite officially withdrawing from Formula 1 at the end of 2021, continue to support the team's Red Bull Powertrains operation in a partnership that was recently extended until the end of 2025 . As such, Honda's Asaki remains closely involved with the sport, and acknowledges that certain aspects of the season have not been what he expected.

Mercedes' struggles surprise Honda

The 2022 campaign got off to a difficult start for Mercedes, with the team unable to match the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari. Despite the sweeping changes to the technical regulations brought into effect for the season, Asaki had not anticipated the Silver Arrows' struggles. "It was a big surprise to me that Mercedes could not show their true potential right away," Asaki told Motorsport.com . "I expected Ferrari to be strong, of course, but didn't think it would turn into a battle between Red Bull and Ferrari."

Red Bull's points advantage over Ferrari downplayed

While Ferrari and Red Bull alternated in claiming victories at the start of the campaign, the Scuderia have slipped behind as the year has progressed, having suffered reliability issues, driver errors and problems with strategy. Asaki has praised Red Bull for their consistency, but has warned that their advantage over Ferrari in terms of points is not necessarily a realistic picture of their performances. "Red Bull are making fewer mistakes than Ferrari at the moment," Asaki explained. "The difference in points between the two teams is greater than our true strength. We are now in a position where we are fighting for both championships, so we keep fighting. "We had some problems at the start of the season, but we solved them. I think that's why we are where we are today."

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