Red Bull boss Christian Horner has branded Ferrari as the team to beat in Bahrain, despite seeing his driver Max Verstappen top the timing sheets on Friday.
Verstappen put his Red Bull RB18 in P1 for FP2 with a lap time less than a tenth of a second faster than the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.
Carlos Sainz, also in the Ferrari, was third-fastest, with the Italian team enjoying yet another problem-free day on track.
Horner adamant that Ferrari are the "team to beat"
Speaking on Friday evening in Bahrain, Horner admitted that he was impressed by the Ferrari cars, which appeared to be consistently quick.
"I think Ferrari are very, very quick," said Horner, speaking to Sky Sports F1.
"You can see that Leclerc today was quick, that Sainz was quick. Whenever they've been on track during pre-season, they've looked very impressive.
"I think they could well be the cars to beat tomorrow."
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Horner: Red Bull have a package they can evolve
But Horner was also encouraged by the performance of his own team, and pointed to a package that Red Bull can evolve over the course of the season.
"I don't really mind who the competitors are; each of the teams are competitors," said Horner, when asked if the focus will be on keeping Ferrari behind them in Saturday's qualifying session.
"It's great to see Ferrari back being competitive. They've been a giant that's been quiet the last couple of years, and they were always going to get it together. They started very early on this project and they've come out with a great car.
"I'm just delighted with our guys, after the intensity of last year, [that they] have managed to hit the track running with a decent package that we can develop and evolve through the season."
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