Horner shuts down Russell after Mercedes star’s stark comments

F1 season preview as Max Verstappen looks to defend world title

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Red Bull chief Christian Horner has emphatically rejected George Russell’s claim they already have this year’s F1 World Championship “sewn up” and “should win every single race”.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has won the last two F1 World Championships and his title defence got off to a perfect start this year with victory in the first Grand Prix of the season in Bahrain. It ended up being a Red Bull 1-2, with Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez finishing second.

And following Verstappen’s win in Bahrain, Russell claimed Red Bull have “got it easy” and that no other team will be able to compete with them this season. “Red Bull have got this championship sewn up,” he said. “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.”

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However, Horner was quick to shut down Russell’s claims, insisting they are not “getting carried away with one result”. He said: “Twenty-three races is a marathon. It’s about being consistent over the campaign.

“Today was a great start but we fully expect our rivals to come back hard in future races. None of us are getting carried away with one result.

“The surface of this track is quite unique. It was a well-executed Grand Prix and after last year when we came away with zero points, to have 43 this year feels like a good response.

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“But we’ve only got one dataset so we’re not taking anything for granted. Let’s see Jeddah and then Melbourne. Once we’ve seen two or three races we’ll have a better idea.

“I’ve been around long enough to see things change so quickly. These cars are still relatively immature. As upgrades come, things will change.”

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