Sakhir, Bahrain—Mercedes driver George Russell believes Red Bull have the 2023 title already “sewn up” after seeing Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez cruise to a one-two finish in the season-opener in Bahrain.
Verstappen, who is attempting to collect a third successive drivers title, won comfortably from pole position at Sakhir with Perez almost 12 seconds behind.
Evergreen former two-time world champion Fernando Alonso was third in an Aston Martin, more than 38 seconds behind Verstappen.
“They have this championship sewn up. I don’t think anybody is going to be fighting with them this year,” said Russell, who was seventh, almost a minute off the pace.
“They should win every race is my bet with the performance they’ve got,” he told the BBC after only the first of a record 23 races this season.
Russell admitted Ferrari may still pose questions in qualifying but on race day, Red Bull have the speed, power, and reliability to thwart their rivals on the grid.
“They have it easy at the moment and they can do what they like,” Russell said.
The second race of the championship, the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix, takes place in Jeddah on March 19.