63 George Russell

F1 News: Russell doubts Red Bull really slower than McLaren

(GMM) George Russell has cast doubt on just how much dominance Red Bull has lost over the last several races.

Max Verstappen of the Netherlands driving the (1) Oracle Red Bull Racing RB20 makes a pitstop during practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Spain at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on June 21, 2024 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Rudy Carezzevoli/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Despite a performance dip following Charles Leclerc’s Monaco victory, Ferrari is expecting a much better Austrian GP, while Mercedes is keen to confirm its latest upgrade and setup breakthroughs.

“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” said Lewis Hamilton in Austria, “but it feels good to be in a competitive position again.”

Championship leader Max Verstappen, however, told reporters that he thinks Red Bull is no longer “number 1” in 2024, as he hands that label to McLaren instead.

McLaren have brought a new front wing and front suspension to the Austrian GP

Indeed, Lando Norris – having taken over P2 in the championship from Leclerc – thinks he should have beaten Verstappen’s Red Bull last time out in Barcelona.

“We can do it,” said the Briton, who has a cold virus, when asked if Verstappen really can be stopped before the Dutchman wraps up a fourth consecutive world championship.

“If I’d made a better decision in Canada and had a better start in Barcelona, that could have been two more wins, and I know that’s a lot of ‘ifs’.

“But we have what it takes,” Norris added. “It’s just about putting it all together.”

However, he acknowledges that Red Bull is still a formidable team, whilst Verstappen “makes no mistakes at all”.

Verstappen, though, has concerns. “McLaren, at the moment, they’re just very solid,” he said on Thursday. “They’re good everywhere, every single track.

“I would say Barcelona was just a normal weekend for us – we were just too slow. So I just hope for a clean weekend again, but hopefully a bit more pace as well.”

Mercedes’ George Russell, however, departed Barcelona suspecting that Verstappen may have had an extra “six tenths” up its sleeve ahead of Norris.

And he said in Austria on Thursday: “They’ve won seven of the last ten races. It doesn’t seem to be too difficult for them.”

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