Russell: Red Bull Already Has 2023 F1 Title ‘Sewn Up’ After First Race
Following a mediocre race in Bahrain, Russell grabbed his crystal ball. The news wasn’t good.
After a mediocre start to his 2023 Formula 1 season, Mercedes driver George Russell decided to stare into his crystal ball and look into the future. And what does the future hold? Red Bull—lots of Red Bull wins, the British driver says.
Speaking to the media after Sunday's Bahrain F1 Grand Prix, Russell predicted that Red Bull drivers were going to win every race of the season. He added that while they may struggle during qualifying due to Ferrari's strong one-lap pace, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez would ultimately claim all the wins in 2023.
"Red Bull has got this championship sewn up, I don't think anyone is going to be fighting with them this year," Russell said, according to Motorsport.com. "I expect they should win every single race this season. That is my bet. With the performance they've got I don't see anyone challenging them."
Indeed, it's easy to see why Russell would feel this way. Verstappen had such a breezy drive at the front of the pack that the global TV feed hardly showed him over the course of 57 laps. Perez struggled a bit more after dropping back at the start, but the Mexican would ultimately work his tire-saving magic to get back into second place and stay there until the checkered flag. Plus, it helped that the team didn't screw up his strategy or royally mess up his pit stops.
The Mercedes drivers—or anyone else for that matter—weren't as lucky. Both Lewis Hamilton and Russell mostly languished in the midfield and were completely embarrassed by a hard-charging Fernando Alonso in an Aston Martin. As Nico Demattia expertly said Sunday, it was Alonso who helped him stay awake during Sunday's predictable race.
Had Ferrari not done its usual Ferrari thing and broken down, both Mercedes cars would've finished even further down the order.
"Their [Red Bull] pace seems weaker this weekend than it was in testing, which was a bit strange. But, you know, they've got it easy at the moment, and they can do what they like.
"They might not get on pole all of the time, because we know that Ferrari are very competitive in qualifying. But when it comes to race pace, I think they're in a very, very strong position," added Russell.
In a very un-Mercedes-like manner, Hamilton and even team principal Toto Wolff were overly negative after the race. The days of remaining positive and seeing the bright side of things seem to be history in Brackley.
"We were miles away [from the front]," Hamilton said. "There was a Ferrari that would've been ahead of him so we would've really been sixth. So a podium was nowhere near."
Wolff was a lot more direct: "One of the worst days in racing. Really not good at all."
The next round of the championship will be March 17-19 in Saudi Arabia.
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