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Red Bull look dominant. Can they win every 2023 F1 race?

Red Bull look dominant. Can they win every 2023 F1 race?

In the hours after Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix some of Max Verstappen’s rivals seemed ready to hand him this year’s title with 22 races still to run.

The Red Bull driver won the opening race of the season by 11 seconds from his teammate Sergio Perez and by a massive 38 seconds from his nearest non-Red Bull rival, Fernando Alonso.

It was an utterly dominant performance, and one Verstappen achieved despite racing well within his capabilities or that of his car.

“Red Bull have got this championship sewn up,” Mercedes driver George Russell told journalists on Sunday evening.

“I don’t think anyone will be fighting with them this year. They should win every single race, that’s my bet.”

On the face of it, it’s hard to argue with Russell. F1’s history is littered with seasons dominated by a single team or driver, and the sport appears to be in the early stages of a new era of relentless success for Red Bull and Verstappen.

Although a team has never won every race in a season (McLaren came closest in 1988 with 15 wins from 16 races), Red Bull’s performance advantage in Bahrain was big enough to raise the question of whether such a feat is possible in 2023.

Yet Sunday’s result also comes with a big caveat: as one-sided as the Bahrain Grand Prix was, it remains a sample of one race from a season of 23 this year. What’s more, the Bahrain International Circuit is a known outlier on the F1 schedule, with an unusually rough track surface and traction-heavy layout that punishes rear tyres more than any other track on the calendar.

Along with Alonso’s Aston Martin, Red Bull was the only team to effectively manage the degradation of its rear tyres in Sunday’s race, making the win look remarkably easy. The next round in Saudi Arabia puts much less of a toll on the rear tyres, and while it is also an unusual circuit compared to the vast majority of tracks F1 visits, there’s the potential for some of Red Bull’s advantage to be curbed in Jeddah.

“Saudi is quite a different track to this one,” Verstappen said. “You have a lot more straights, fast corners, and a lot less deg. And I think here we were particularly good on the deg. So I do expect in terms of race pace that everyone is closer in Jeddah, yeah.

“Our car seems quite strong in high-speed, but I think the Ferrari is quite quick on the straight, which in Jeddah is very nice to have, let’s say it like…

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