‘They spread s**t!’ – Mercedes spark Red Bull and McLaren war of words over George Russell

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‘They spread s**t!’ - Mercedes spark Red Bull and McLaren war of words over George Russell
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has launched a scathing attack on McLaren CEO Zak Brown, likening the American to Red Bull chief Christian Horner after his claim that George Russell is being lined up for a Silver Arrows seat next season. The 23-year-old, who has gained plenty of admirers during his time at Williams over the last two years, has long been touted as the natural heir to reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton.
The Stevenage-born racer, along with Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, is out of contract at the end of the year which could potentially open up two free slots with the German outfit.

Russell is a Mercedes junior driver effectively on loan at Williams and seems to be the logical option for Wolff if Hamilton or Bottas decide to move on ahead of next season.

Brown suggested last month that Russell could eventually be partnered by Red Bull star Max Verstappen, who has struggled to chip away at the dominance of Mercedes since his F1 debut in 2015.

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“Yes, I think you will see Max and George there in 2022,” Brown told the Daily Mail.

“I think that is the obvious conclusion. Lewis wins title number eight this year and is the winningest driver [most successful] in every category, they have a one-year deal with him.

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“George is coming out of his deal and Max has a deal he comes out of. You have Max’s experience and youth, you have George’s youth. 

“If I am Mercedes, that is a pretty killer line-up for the next five years.”

Wolff has since poured cold water on Brown’s claim with a foul-mouthed response in which a comparison was made to Horner, who has gained an unwelcome reputation for playing mind games over the last few seasons.

“Brown is like Christian Horner,” Wolff told Austrian publication oe24.

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“They just spread s**t. I think Zak wanted to give Christian one with it.”

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Mercedes claimed the first Grand Prix victory of the new season last week as Hamilton produced a fantastic display to hold off the challenge of Verstappen on fresher tyres and take the chequered flag in Bahrain.

The Dutchman squeezed into the lead with only a few laps remaining, but was ordered to concede the position after leaving the track in order to get ahead of his rival.

The result came as something of a surprise to Mercedes, who had been comfortably second-best to Red Bull over the course of the weekend and in pre-season testing the previous week.

Wolff revealed after the race that he was not expecting his team to come out on top, suggesting that improvements are desperately needed in order to stand any chance of maintaining their dominance this year.

“If somebody told me before Sunday that a Mercedes win was going to be the result I would not have believed them,” he told reporters.

“We recovered well from the pre-season test but, if we are 100 per cent honest with ourselves, we are lacking quite a bit of pace in qualifying.

“In the past, Bahrain has not been a strong race for Red Bull and they have not been particularly good out of the blocks either, but this weekend shows that in 2021, that is no longer the case.

“I have no doubt they are extremely difficult to beat and are leading the pack.

“We have not suddenly found some awesome performance, but the win was a combination of good race strategy, a solid race car and being fortunate at the end.”


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