Mercedes have warned that, despite their victorious start to the season, Red Bull are still the team to beat, with their disastrous winter testing a distant memory.
With a win for Nico Rosberg in Australia and then an emphatic win for Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia this past weekend, the W05 has so far proved to be the leading and dominate car of 2014 so far.
Yet Red Bull's rapid rise back to competitive form has put those at Mercedes on alert, with team boss Toto Wolff, and drivers Rosberg and Hamilton uniting to warn of the threat still carried by the reigning drivers and constructors champions.
"Red Bull are still the reference point in this sport, they are still the best and they were always going to come back strong," Rosberg stated after a qualifying session at Sepang in which he was denied a front-row spot by Sebastian Vettel's rejuvenated RB10.
Vettel would continue to hound Rosberg during the race, finishing only seven seconds behind the Mercedes, with the Red Bull emerging as the only realistic danger to the Brackley outfit, who secured their first one-two as a works team since 1955.
"We have came from far away and we have to celebrate our victories but we saw Sebastian Vettel pressuring Nico here and when you consider that they didn't do any testing - or at least far less than we did - they are a serious threat," cautioned Wolff.
"They are still the benchmark. They are four-times champions and we have to keep pushing because they will be there."
For Hamilton though Vettel wasn't even a dust in his mirrors throughout most of the 56-lap race, but the 2008 world champion still saw enough to warn his team of the ever-improving Red Bull team, having been so far behind during winter-testing.
"Their car is just as quick as ours through all the corners; it's just a little bit slower down the straights," he told Sky Sports.
"I have no doubts at all that Renault are going to fix that and when they do, you're going to see a big race between us and the Bulls. They still have a fantastic car. I've looked at the GPS; they had the same speed as us through all the corners."
Ferrari, who plan on introducing a whole load of upgrades to this months Spanish Grand Prix after a disappointing start to the season, are confident that their superior fuel efficiency will move them above the Red Bull's in the ever-fluctuating pecking order in Bahrain this coming weekend.
Yet with all the upgrades, improvements and warnings, a third successive Mercedes victory is the most likely outcome, with the teams chasing expected to be distant rivals till Spain at the earliest.
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