Mark Webber does not believe his Red Bull Racing team has a big advantage over its rivals despite a dominant 1-2 sweep in the previous race in Malaysia.
Sebastian Vettel led Webber home at Sepang to give the British team its first win of the season after the troubles of the first two races, from where Vettel had retired while leading. But despite Red Bull having secured all pole positions and led all races, Webber does not think his team is in a position to dominate. The Australian reckons it will take a normal race to see the actual pecking order.
"We finished 1-2 in the last race but it wasn't a normal qualifying," said Webber in China on Thursday. "McLaren was pretty quick as well, and Ferrari was in the race. We need a normal grand prix to see where everyone is.
"Melbourne, I think we were the quickest there, and Malaysia we weren't too bad. But I wouldn't say we have a huge advantage. You have to get everything right, nip and tucked. This is a new venue, and look at the temperatures. We don't arrive here thinking we won the last race and are going to be quickest again.
"We are going to be quick but whether we are going to have an advantage? It would be silly to think that."
Webber is confident, however, that Red Bull will be able to stay in front when the European season kicks off, despite rivals expected to introduce big upgrades then.
"We are coming to all races knowing we have the chance to get some really good results," he said. "Whether it is a top result, you will find out as the weekend unravels. I see absolutely no reason why we will not be competitive when we get back to Europe. Why do you think we won't be competitive when we get back to Europe?
"Last year, we developed very well during the year. We won races at the start of the year and won races at the end of the year, so I don't see any reason why we shouldn't do well through the whole year this year."
When asked if Red Bull can stay on top all season, he said: "Yes. At the front. Winning is very, very difficult week in, week out – but we are not intending to slide back through the field as the season goes on. We want to stay at the front."