Helmut Marko believes that Fernando Alonso could have made life more difficult for Red Bull in the Bahrain Grand Prix had it not been for the Spaniard's issues at the start.
Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez kicked off the season by claiming a dominant 1-2 for the Milton Keynes-based squad, with Alonso clinching a podium in third for Aston Martin.
However, with Alonso suffering a brief collision with teammate Lance Stroll on the opening lap, Marko thinks that the two-time World Champion might have been closer without this.
"I think Alonso would have been much stronger if he didn't drop back further at the start," Marko told Austrian broadcaster ServusTV.
"It was a fantastic fight with Lewis Hamilton after that. Tough but fair, and nice and old-school. Of course, this did cost him time and tyres.
"That means that if he had been right behind us, the challenge for us would have been much greater.
"I don't know how much further development there will be, but at least with his age he doesn't have to worry. He is in the form of his life."
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Marko satisfied after 1-2 for Red Bull
While Alonso may have been able to get closer in theory, Red Bull ultimately took victory by quite a distance, something that Marko is understandably pleased about.
"We have a very strong car and we have improved evolutionarily compared to last year," he explained.
"At the same time, both drivers have become stronger.
"Checo stepped out a little less sweaty, but he also didn't get as much opposition. Very clever how they did with managing the tyres without losing speed. It's a great opportunity for us, also because of a super engine from Honda."
Marko has hailed the way in which Red Bull are working, a factor that he believes is contributing to their current success.
"Not only the passion and ambition, but [there is] also a certain harmony, understanding and trust within the team," the Austrian said.
"That's what makes us very strong. When you operate from that strength, it seems easy. However, there is a lot of work behind it."
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