George Russell was immediately on the pace after jumping into Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes W11 in Bahrain last month, and he was set to win the Sakhir Grand Prix ahead of Valtteri Bottas.
However, a combination of bad luck and a team mistake in the pits costed him victory, but many in the paddock were nevertheless impressed by Russell’s strong performance that weekend.
But, in a recent interview, Helmut Marko, a senior advisor at Red Bull, said that he believes Bottas was too “crap” in Bahrain for an accurate comparison against Russell to be made.
Marko also explained why Red Bull didn’t consider signing George Russell as Alex Albon’s replacement for 2021.
“Russell is a Mercedes junior. There’s no need to put a false label over it,” Marko told Motorsport-Total.com.
“He has a ten-year contract with Toto Wolff. He is a Mercedes junior. We were looking for an interim solution for one year. Perez is the much better option there.”
Continuing, he said: “Russell is an intelligent and fast young man. His Mercedes effort was great.
“At the same time, that was characterised by such uncertainty on Bottas’ part that it wasn’t really an admissible comparison.
“Bottas put together such crap from the first lap on Friday that was way below his normal level.”