The tests had only hinted at the potential of the Red Bull RB19, but the Bahrain Grand Prix was merciless. A resounding double, partially mitigated by the great advantage acquired by Max Verstappen in the first half of the 57 scheduled laps, which led the Milton Keynes team to reduce the pace of the 2-times world champion to save the mechanical vehicle in view of the continuation of the season.
A shock awakening, which has thrown almost everyone into despair. Ferrari, of course, but also Mercedes, which restarted this year with high ambitions but was immediately stopped by the immediate awareness of having made the wrong project again and an even wider gap from rivals directed by Christian Horner than last season.
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell finished 51 and 56 seconds behind Verstappen respectively. All in 57 steps. Almost one second per lap, in fact, but as mentioned, the gap was mitigated by the controlled pace that Max adopted from mid-race onwards.
This sensational showdown immediately induced George Russell to draw up a balance sheet without the right to reply: Red Bull is so strong that it will probably be able to win all 23 grand prix scheduled in this long season.
“Red Bull have the championship in hand, I don’t think there is anyone who can fight with them this year. I expect them to win all the races this season. That’s my bet. With the performances they showed in Bahrain I don’t see anyone who can challenge them.”
Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin AMR23, George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
“Their pace seemed less incisive than in the tests, which was a bit strange. But, in short, at the moment they have it easy and can do whatever they want. They might not always be on pole, because we know Ferrari is very competitive in qualifying, but when it comes to race pace, I think they are in a very, very strong position.”
To photograph the situation of Mercedes, however, was Lewis Hamilton. At the end of the race, the 7-time world champion concentrated more on analyzing what he saw and happened in his own team.
“We don’t have a competitive pace to match those who preceded us today. The Astons looked much faster than us today, for example. We have a lot of work to do.”
“The problem isn’t the tyres, it’s the car. In general, the race pace seemed the same to me as last year. This morning, when we made the strategy, I told the guys that it wouldn’t go as well as they thought, and in fact, it didn’t happen that way. We still have a lot of work to do”.
“We need to add load to the car, we really lack a lot. As soon as we put more load on the rear and front, our pace will certainly be better.”
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