Christian Horner’s George Russell and Lewis Hamilton prediction resurfaces

Max Verstappen's 2021 title was the first time since 2013 that a Mercedes driver hadn't won the Drivers' Championship.

It appears that Red Bull team principal Christian Horner might have a superpower that allows him to look into the future, with the Brit having been absolutely spot on about George Russell ahead of the 2022 season.

Red Bull entered last year with Max Verstappen having dethroned Lewis Hamilton, with the Dutchman having become the first non-Mercedes driver to win the Drivers’ Championship since Sebastian Vettel in 2013.

Horner’s prediction that Mercedes would enter 2022 “all guns blazing” certainly wasn’t accurate, with the Silver Arrows having slumped to their lowest position in the Constructors’ Championship since 2012, after finishing third.

The Germans certainly tried to enter 2022 with a competitive car, by introducing the revolutionary ‘zero-sidepods’; however, their genius idea ultimately led to a costly problem.

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Mercedes were ridiculed by porpoising throughout the bulk of last season, to the extent where Hamilton complained of spinal pain at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Russell on the other hand, battled through the pain barrier and was arguably the lead Mercedes driver during the first half of the season, with him certainly not having been a “subservient second driver”.

Horner’s prediction that Russell would “get stuck in” during his first year at Mercedes was spot on, with the 25-year-old having actually become the third team-mate of Hamilton’s to finish above him in the Drivers’ Championship.

“It’s the first time Mercedes have been beaten in seven years, that’s going to have hurt,” Horner said ahead of last season.

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“I’m sure they will come out all guns blazing at the start of this year. George is a really talented guy, he’s very quick and I don’t think he will be a subservient second driver. He will get stuck in.

“It’s great that we have so much talent in the sport with Verstappen, Russell, Lando Norris, Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz and, of course, Hamilton still at the top of his game.”

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When Horner makes his predictions for 2023, it’ll only be understood at the end of the season if he’s made another successful prediction, or whether he’ll be left red in the face.

2023 is set to be significantly closer than last season was, with many expecting Mercedes to be back amongst the title fight.

How this will impact Russell’s and Hamilton’s relationship remains to be seen, especially given that neither driver will likely accept a backup role.