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Russell: Red Bull 'embarrassed' to show their full potential

Red Bull has held a commanding lead in the opening three races of the season, but George Russell believes there is still more to come from the RB19.

The RB19 has established itself as the benchmark in F1 2023 after taking convincing victories at the hands of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in the opening three races of the season. We caught a glimpse of their pace during the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix when both elected to go for the fastest lap and built up a 30s gap, but Verstappen kept that to a relatively tame nine seconds to Lewis Hamilton prior to the red flag in Australia. George Russell believes there is still more to come from the team, who he believes are sandbagging to stop the FIA from intervening and negating their advantage. “For sure they’re holding back,” said Russell to the BBC’s Chequered Flag podcast. “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 and hold them back somehow."

Russell: Max has no reason to be pushing

Red Bull have the least amount of wind tunnel time and aerodynamic development after winning the Constructors' Championship last season, coupled with their cost cap penalty. Russell thinks the team still has a seven tenths advantage over the rest of the grid, which they are unlikely to deploy while everyone else plays catch up. “I think realistically they probably have seven-tenths advantage over the rest of the field," he explained. “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. “They’ve done a really great job to be fair to them. We can’t take that away, and we clearly have to up our game.” The last two races have seen Verstappen and Perez utilise their car advantage to battle through the field, with the Dutchman climbing up to P2 from P15 on the grid in Saudi Arabia and Perez making it to P5 in Australia from last.

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Chinese Grand Prix