Red Bull admit scoring points the 'maximum' currently possible

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Red Bull has admitted victories won't be coming any time soon after another subdued race in China.

 Max Verstappen was able to split the two Ferrari's in P4 thanks to a combination of an undercut and a poor strategy for Charles Leclerc, but couldn't keep pace with Sebastian Vettel after a brief fight.

While it was a stronger performance than two weeks earlier in Bahrain though, team boss Christian Horner has revealed the lofty predictions of pre-season have now been dropped.

"We all know that Helmut [Marko] is an optimist," he said, referring to the team's advisor who had touted five wins and a championship bid this year.

"The truth is that we have no target for the number of wins. Our goal is to reduce the gap to the leaders."

Having changed from Renault to Honda engines for 2019, the Milton Keynes outfit has admitted it is a problem optimising the chassis that is hurting their performance, an area that is normally their main strength.

"At the moment the maximum we can do is score points," Horner added to Holland's Ziggo Sport. "We all want to achieve maximum competitiveness as quickly as possible."

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Not helping Red Bull has been the steady start of Pierre Gasly who finished over a minute behind Verstappen, admittedly influenced by a late third stop for what was a successful fastest lap attempt.

Still, with Shanghai being the first time he has made the top six in both qualifying and the race, talk of his ousting is already circulating.

“For Gasly, it’s still early but if we get to mid-season and they still don’t see the improvements and they still don’t see him starting to outqualify Max, he’s going to be under big pressure," Sky Sports pundit Karun Chandhok said.

“By the time we get to the British Grand Prix, Helmut [Marko] could be getting a little bit twitchy with that.”

As for who might replace him...

“The obvious one has to be Albon,” the Indian added. “He’s the one at Toro Rosso.

“He seems to be outperforming Daniil Kvyat. He had the accident here but he’s so far done such a good job in his rookie season. He’s mature."

Horner though cooled any thought of the Frenchman being on borrowed time.

"I think we saw Pierre have an easier weekend, even if he's not completely comfortable," he said.

"He is now in the process of adjusting his style to correspond to the characteristics of the car, but there is already progress in that.

"We saw him do the fastest lap in the race so hopefully that will give him some confidence."