George Russell drops big claim about Red Bull as he rues ‘wrong’ Mercedes calls

George Russell has stated that the team have to be realistic about their ability to fight for championships in the 2023 season.

Following a disappointing start to the season for the Silver Arrows, George Russell has accepted that Mercedes have to “be realistic” about their ability to compete against Red Bull in the 2023 title race.

With Red Bull having shown their dominance over the rest of the grid in the opening two races of the season, Russell told Sky Sports F1 that “you’ve got to give credit to what Red Bull have done.”

“The gap they have to the rest of the field, I think is bigger than we’ve seen probably since Mercedes in 2014,” he said.

“You know, it’s a serious, serious gap, and I guess everybody needs to keep working harder to understand how to close that gap.”

READ: George Russell makes Fernando Alonso penalty claim in FIA plea

Since the 2022 season brought about the biggest regulations changes in Formula 1’s history, Mercedes have struggled to make their car competitive.

The failure to adequately adapt to the new technical rules saw Mercedes lose the Constructors’ Championship after an eight-year grip on the title. 

“We know we didn’t make the right decisions over the winter and I think we can regain some of that performance quicker than you would do ordinarily, so everything’s not all lost,” Russell added.

“We’re still going to be fighting as hard as we can. We want to win races this year.

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“We want to be in the championship hunt, but we’ve equally got to be realistic, focus on ourselves and just get the fundamentals right for the long term.” 

Russell’s concerns about the direction Mercedes have taken come after Lewis Hamilton claimed that the team ignored him while developing their 2023 contender.

In the wake of the season opener in Bahrain, Hamilton stated that “Last year, there were things I told them. I said the issues that are with the car.

READ: Nico Rosberg delivers blunt Toto Wolff assessment amid Mercedes woes

“It’s about owning up and saying, ‘Yeah, you know what? We didn’t listen to you. It’s not where it needs to be and we’ve got to work,” the seven-time world champion added. 

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has accepted that the team will have to scrap their zero-sidepod concept if they are to be fighting at the front of the pack.

“I think it needs to be much more radical in the steps than hope for a three tenths upgrade,” he said.