George Russell claims Red Bull are ‘almost embarrassed’, fires Max Verstappen accusation

Red Bull have claimed all three race wins so far this season and lead the Constructors' Championship by 58 points.

Following last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, George Russell is convinced that Red Bull are yet to “show their full potential”, with the Mercedes driver having accused the Austrians of sandbagging.

Red Bull have enjoyed a sensational start to the 2023 F1 season, with the reigning Constructors’ Champions having won every race so far this season, whilst having also finished second twice.

Two of the victories so far this year have come thanks to reigning World Champion Max Verstappen, who actually slipped from first to third on the opening lap at the Albert Park Circuit.

Verstappen wasn’t fazed by this, though, with the Dutchman having admitted after the race that he “knew that we had a quick car so even losing one or two spots was not the end of the world.”

Want to work in Formula 1? Browse the latest F1 job vacancies

He ultimately breezed his way back to the front, with Lewis Hamilton having once again been left in shock at how quick the RB19 was.

It’s left Russell certain that Red Bull are still “holding back” and are perhaps even “embarrassed” to show just how fast they can go.

“For sure they’re holding back,” the Mercedes driver said on the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast.

“I think they are almost embarrassed to show their full potential because the faster they seem, the more that the sport is going to try and hold them back somehow.

Article continues below

“I think realistically they probably have seven-tenths advantage over the rest of the field.

“I don’t know what the pace difference looks like at the moment but Max has got no reason to be pushing it nor has Red Bull.

“They’ve done a really great job to be fair to them. We can’t take that away, and we clearly have to up our game.”

READ: Sebastian Vettel suggests he could return to Formula 1 after 6 months

Red Bull advisor Dr Helmut Marko sees their current advantage very differently, though, with the Austrian having been left convinced in Melbourne that their opposition “have made gains”.

“You can see how close it is when a little thing doesn’t work out because we’re always said to have a superiority that only exists when everything is running smoothly,” Marko said on Sky Deutschland.

“Our rivals Aston Martin, Ferrari and Mercedes have made gains.”