George Russell backtracks on ‘heat of the moment’ Red Bull comment

Red Bull has won every race of the 2023 season so far, with Max Verstappen taking victory in Bahrain and Australia, while Sergio Perez finished P1 in Saudi Arabia.

After Red Bull dominated the season opener in Bahrain, Mercedes driver George Russell issued a warning to the rest of the Formula 1 paddock, believing the reigning world champions will win every race on the calendar.

With three races completed, Russell’s prediction is coming true, as Red Bull took the chequered flag in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Australia, giving it a dominant lead in the Constructors’ race.

However, the Brit appears to be having second thoughts as he sees first-hand the significant upgrades Mercedes being prepared at the team’s factory ahead of the introduction of their first major package at Imola.

“Obviously, after a frustrating qualifying, like the one we had in Bahrain, you say some things in the heat of the moment,” reported Russell as saying.

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“I do still think Red Bull are a class ahead of everybody else and for sure, Lewis [Hamilton] and I got the most out of it [in Australia].

“By the sounds of what Max is saying, there was probably still a little bit more in the locker [for Red Bull].  

“We’re talking that three tenths, is a little bit. Normally, they’re a second ahead. Now, they’re three tenths ahead. That’s still a huge amount in the world of F1.  

“We’re not going to give up, we’re going to keep on pushing.  

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“Right now, we’ll have to reassess [the claim] when we bring some upgrades to the car.

“That will be the first time when we truly know if they work as we expect and if we can fight them. But yeah, why not?” he added.

Russell was cautious to not make any further predictions about Red Bull or Mercedes at this stage but he was clear that he hopes to be able to get back in the title fight in the future.

“I don’t want to change the goals yet,” he said. “I always want to think that we are here to fight for a world championship, even if it doesn’t seem realistic.”

READ: ‘His team would know’: Christian Horner fires George Russell jibe

Russell performed impressively in his first season at Mercedes, outscoring his teammate and delivering a consistent string of points finishes despite the car’s lack of performance.

The battle between the Mercedes duo in 2023 remains strong, as they look to rejoin the race for both the Constructors’ and Drivers’ titles.

After a DNF in Australia, Hamilton has taken the lead over Russell in the Drivers’ Standings, although Russell has outqualified his teammate in ever race of the season so far.