London: Red Bull boss Christian Horner has said that 2009 champion Jenson Button`s team McLaren are lagging behind the four pace setting teams in this year`s Formula One race.
McLaren is hoping that a wide-ranging package of changes due for the next round in Spain will catapult them into the title fight.
However, Horner has dashed water on their hopes, saying that the Woking-based team is already a step behind Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus and Mercedes, whom he termed as this year`s pace setters.
Horner had predicted a four-way scrap after Red Bull`s Sebastian Vettel scored his second victory in three races in Bahrain to take a 10 point lead over Lotus` Kimi Raikkonen.
According to the report, McLaren has moved away from the spot-light this year after producing the best car of last season and then failing to capitalise on it a dramatic re-design, adding that although they have staged a remarkable recovery from their dismal form in Melbourne, talk of a podium result has proved fools` gold.
The report further said that McLaren is trailing Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus, Mercedes and even Force India.
Meanwhile, Horner said that although Red Bull is facing a close race as they lead back to Europe, it, however, has been a strong start to the F1 campaign as his side has won two of the four races and has gained the second place in a third race.
Praising Vettel, Horner said that the Red Bull ace was completely in control from the moment he took the lead in the Bahrain GP, adding that he controlled the race impressively after passing Mercedes` Nico Rosberg.