George Russell and Mercedes came into the 2023 Formula 1 season hoping to have the right car to give Red Bull Racing a fight for the world title. However, the team had a reality check at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Max Verstappen ensured Red Bull had the perfect start to the new campaign, cruising to victory with teammate Sergio Perez finishing second. Mercedes, on the other hand, looked like they had not fully overcome their troubles from last year as they could only manage fifth (Hamilton) and seventh (Russell) at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Since the introduction of the new regulations in 2022, Mercedes have won just one race — through Russell in Brazil last year. While their ‘zero pod’ design has not been as successful as the team hoped, they stuck to that design choice for 2023.
With Aston Martin showing improvement after switching to Red Bull’s side pod style, there has been some talk of other teams, especially Mercedes, doing the same. Russell, however, doesn’t think that’s a good idea as the car doesn’t get its ‘power’ from the pods.
He said (as quoted by racingnews365):
“Of course we have always had different concepts on the drawing board, but the reason we still have the current concept is because we believe it is the best concept.”
“If we suddenly arrive next week with Red Bull-style sidepods, it won’t just work for us and save half a second in time. The real magic comes from the underside of the car, at the floor and at other parts of the car.”
“I don’t see anyone challenging them” – George Russell expects Red Bull to win 2023 F1 title
George Russell has predicted rivals Red Bull Racing to be world champions in 2023 following their dominant display in the opening race of the season in Bahrain.
The Mercedes driver, who finished seventh in the race, told PlanetF1 that he expects Red Bull to win all the races this year. He said:
“Red Bull has got this championship sewn up, I don’t think anyone is going to be fighting with them this year. I expect them to win, they should win every single race this season, that’s my bet. I’d say so because with the performance they’ve got, I don’t see anyone challenging them.”
“Their pace seems weaker this weekend than it was in testing, which was a bit strange, but they’ve got it easy at the moment, and they can do what they like. They might not get on the 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.”