George Russell: Red Bull should win every race this year

SAKHIR, Bahrain -- George Russell offered a bleak assessment about the 2023 Formula One season, predicting Max Verstappen's easy win in Bahrain will be the norm this year.

Max Verstappen scored a dominant victory at the first race as Mercedes and Ferrari, the only other two teams to win a race in 2023, were off the pace.

Mercedes' poor start to the season has already seen team boss Toto Wolff say the team will completely abandon its car concept this year. Russell, who struggled to seventh, thinks any idea of anyone challenging Red Bull is foolish.

"Red Bull have got this championship sewn up," Russell said on Sunday evening. "I don't think anyone will be fighting with them this year. They should win every single race this year, is my bet.

"They've got it easy at the moment. They can do what they like. They might not be on pole all the time because we know Ferrari are very competitive in qualifying but when it comes to race pace they're in a very strong position."

However, Red Bull boss Christian Horner downplayed Russell's suggestion.

"Twenty-three races is a marathon," said Horner. "It's about being consistent over the campaign. Today was a great start. "We full expect our rivals to come back hard in the future races."