Toto Wolff backs up George Russell over Christian Horner

Horner opens up on Red Bull's 'barren spell' amid Mercedes dominance

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Mercedes chief Toto Wolff has backed up George Russell by claiming Red Bull will win every single Grand Prix this year. Russell had been shut down by the Austrian team’s boss Christian Horner after making the same claims following last Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Wolff was interviewed by OE24 this week after seeing Mercedes driver Russell finishing the Bahrain race in seventh position, two places behind his team-mate Lewis Hamilton. And the 51-year-old told the Austrian publication: “After the first Grand Prix, I also believe that they will win every race this year.”

The interviewer then put it to Wolff that he had claimed his team could fight for race victories and the world title this year. And the Silver Arrows boss conceded: “Yes, but I didn’t mean this year. This year that is no longer the case.”

In the aftermath of the Bahrain Grand Prix, which was won by Red Bull star Max Verstappen, a disappointed Russell said: “Red Bull have got this championship sewn up. 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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But Horner refused to take Verstappen’s early dominance for granted when he spoke to the media and insisted his team are not “getting carried away with one result.” And the 49-year-old continued: “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.”

And he added: “Look, it can change very quickly. Look at last year how things turned around. Mercedes came from a long way back and they had a winning car at the end of the year with that concept.”

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