Red Bull driver expected ‘more of a challenge’ in F1 2024

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Red Bull development driver Jake Dennis admits that the Milton Keynes-based squad was expecting to face stronger competition this season.

At the opening two rounds of the 2024 Formula 1 campaign, Max Verstappen cruised to a duo of victories with teammate Sergio Perez crossing the line in second place.

Its strong start followed a highly dominant season last year that saw it win 21 out of the 22 Grands Prix staged.

Speaking exclusively to RacingNews365, Formula E and Red Bull development driver Jake Dennis admitted surprise over the lack of competition so far this year.

“There’s no denying that Ferrari has closed the gap slightly,” he said.

“We expected a little bit more of a challenge off Mercedes, but it looks like they’ve had a difficult sort of first couple of races.

“We’ll see when we go to a bit more conventional circuits. We expected people to close the gap, and they have done that.

“We probably expected a little bit more of a challenge in the racing, I would say.

“We haven’t really been to too many normal circuits yet. Bahrain is really hard on tyres.

“Jeddah is a very unique street circuit, [it’s like an] oval, it’s that fast. I’m intrigued to go to a normal circuit.”

Hamilton to Ferrari ‘a bold move’

Dennis made his F1 weekend debut at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last year, taking part in the opening free practice session.

The Briton ended the session in 16th place after sealing the Formula E World Championship a handful of months prior.

Dennis joined an exclusive list of British motorsport World Champions, one that also contains seven-time F1 title-holder Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton is enduring his final F1 season with Mercedes before his switch to Ferrari in 2025 – a move that Dennis admitted caught him by surprise.

“Even I expected him to retire at Mercedes,” he said. “But we’ll soon find out if it’s the right call. I really respect it.

“I think it’s a bold move to move to Ferrari. I think it’s extremely exciting to finish your career in red and up against one of the fastest guys in the sport at the moment [Charles Leclerc].”

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