Red Bull says leading both Formula 1 championships for the first time in eight years is “beyond its expectations” following Max Verstappen’s Monaco Grand Prix victory.
Verstappen dominated in Monaco, in the wake of polesitter Charles Leclerc being unable to start the race, while team-mate Sergio Perez rose to fourth position.
Mercedes, meanwhile, endured a troubled weekend as Lewis Hamilton emerged as its sole points scorer, in a low-key seventh spot, following Valtteri Bottas’ pit disaster.
The points swing means Verstappen now heads Hamilton by four points in the Drivers’ standings while Red Bull leads Mercedes by a single point in the Constructors’ battle.
It is the first time since the end of 2013, when Red Bull completed its fourth straight title double with Sebastian Vettel, that the outfit has led either championship.
“It’s still a long, long way to go but when they [Mercedes] have an off day, it was very important for us to bank a lot of points,” said Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.
“To do that and come out leading both championships is beyond expectations certainly coming into the weekend.
“It just shows how close things are and things can move around very quickly. We’ve just got to keep in striking distance until the back end of the championship and that’s where the pressure really comes.
“So at the moment, you’re in that [place] where you’re running through the races, it’s important to be reliable, consistent and not lose too much ground.”
Verstappen has started the year with two victories and three runner-up positions from the opening five rounds, making it his best start to a Formula 1 season.
But while praising Verstappen Horner cautioned that the current position will be meaningless unless it is maintained come the Abu Dhabi season-ender in December.
“Max delivered a great victory – his second victory of the year,” added Horner.
“He deserves to be going away as the championship leader but it is meaningless in the scale of things with the volume of races still to come.”