Christian Horner reminds George Russell of Mercedes knowing about such advantages after the Brit felt Red Bull are holding back.
Three Grands Prix in and it is a case scenario of three nil to Red Bull. Sure Max Verstappen won 15 races last season out of 22 and there are those who have said it is not inconceivable that they can or will win all 23 races this year.
The RB19 is in a league of its own but so far their winning margins have not be as dominant as has been expected. As a result, there has even been a small amount of mind games from some, most notably Mercedes’ Russell who has advised that he reckons the Milton Keynes outfit are in fact “sandbagging” three races into the season.
“For sure they’re holding back,” said Russell to media. “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 to hold them back somehow. 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.” Russell just might have an ulterior motive for this statement as teams and drivers usually try to get the FIA to intervene and bring the field closer together for the sake of the sport by such words.
But it is not the first time where one team has had a monopoly of success in F1. Remember McLaren in 1988 with 15 wins from 16 races is just one prime example. Red Bull team principal Christian Horner no doubt viewed these comments quite amusingly and was quick to remind that Russell’s team knows about such advantages as well.
“That’s very generous of George,” said Horner. “I mean, his team would know all too well about those kinds of advantages. There’s always an element of managing that goes on in any race, you could see because if we look at Australia, it was a one stop race and a very early one stop race, there was an element of tyre management that was going on, which is what they were doing”.
“Checo wasn’t hanging about, he wasn’t cruising round holding back seven tenths a lap because he didn’t want to show it. The grid was certainly a little bit closer at this venue,” summed up Horner, who did address that Mercedes looked better than expected.
Going back to Russell’s statement, Mercedes dominated the sport from 2014 to 2020 and Russell was to a certain extent part of the family then while debuting for Williams in 2019. On a more serious note, sandbagging or not, the rest of the Grand Prix field can take heart that Red Bull are not dominating as much as they have been expected to do so, whether it is situational or tactics, it will be on others to bridge the gap even more.
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